- Associated Press - Sunday, December 14, 2014

ROME (AP) - Patrice Evra scored his first goal in Serie A but Juventus was held 1-1 at home by Champions League hopeful Sampdoria on Sunday, and had its lead cut to one point.

Radja Nainggolan scored as second-place Roma won 1-0 at 10-man Genoa to bounce back from its Champions League elimination and set up a title fight with three-time defending champion Juve with the second half of the season approaching.

“We took advantage of the chance to pull within one point that we didn’t take advantage of last time,” Roma coach Rudi Garcia said, referring to a wasted opportunity last weekend. “We’ve learned well.”

Evra, the former Manchester United left back, put Juventus ahead with a header following a corner 12 minutes into the lunchtime fixture.

Allowed time to line up a shot from the edge of the area, Sampdoria substitute Manolo Gabbiadini equalized in the 51st by shooting inside the far post for his sixth goal of the season.

The draw ended Juve’s home winning streak in the Italian league at 25 matches - in the Turin club’s last home match of 2014.

The last time Juve dropped points at home in the Italian league was a 1-1 draw with Cagliari in May 2013.

“They’re really strong here. They’re also tough on the road but here they have another gear,” Gabbiadini said.

Juventus also drew its previous match, 0-0 at Fiorentina.

“It’s too bad, because we created a ton of chances in the first half and we didn’t take advantage of them all,” said Juve’s first-year coach Massimilian Allegri.

Sampdoria, which stretched its unbeaten streak to six matches, moved level third on points with Genoa and Lazio in the race for the final Champions League berth.

Also Sunday, AC Milan beat Napoli 2-0 at the San Siro with goals from Jeremy Menez and Giacomo Bonaventura, ending Napoli’s 11-match unbeaten streak.

Menez scored his career-best eighth of the season by dribbling between two defenders and beating the goalkeeper with a sharply angled shot that went in off the post six minutes in.

Shortly into the second half, Bonaventura was left unmarked to head in a cross from Pablo Armero.

Milan moved level sixth with Napoli.

In other matches, Fiorentina moved up to seventh with a 4-1 win at 10-man Cesena, where Borja Valero, Stefan Savic, Gonzalo Rodriguez and Mounir El Hamdaoui scored for the visitors; Hellas Verona won 2-1 at Udinese with Luca Toni celebrating his 300th goal as a professional with the decider following scores from Antonio Di Natale and Lazaros Christodoulopoulos; and last-place Parma drew 0-0 with Cagliari in a matchup of two clubs in the relegation zone.

Despite the early kickoff, Juventus was sharp from the start with Alvaro Morata and Roberto Pereyra threatening in the opening 10 minutes.

The 33-year-old Evra leapt to meet a corner from Claudio Marchisio at the edge of the box and score an impressive goal. Evra, who joined Juventus on a two-year contract in July, only scored seven goals in 273 Premier League matches with United.

Midway through the first half, France midfielder Paul Pogba nearly made it 2-0 after expertly controlling a 60-yard pass from Leonardo Bonucci but couldn’t find the target.

Sampdoria coach Sinisa Mihajlovic replaced Nenad Krsticic with Gabbiadini to start the second half and the move paid off when Gabbiadini shot past outstretched Gianluigi Buffon to draw the visitors level.

In Genoa, goalkeeper Mattia Perin was sent off for a hard tackle on Nainggolan in the 29th but reserve goalkeeper Eugenio Lamanna saved the ensuing penalty kick from Adem Ljajic in his first career top-division action.

However, Nainggolan connected with a superb volley following a cross from Maicon to score in the 40th and Roma, boosted by the man advantage, controlled play the rest of the way.

The victory was some consolation for Roma after a 2-0 loss to Manchester City eliminated the Giallorossi from the Champions League.


Andrew Dampf can be followed at www.twitter.com/asdampf

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