Also: Atletico Madrid earn an important 1-0 win against Alaves in the La Liga; Lille suffer a 2-1 home defeat to humble Nimes in Ligue 1; Hertha Berlin increase their hopes of avoiding relegation from the Bundesliga with a 3-0 win over Bayer Leverkusen.
Benevento dented Juventus ‘Serie A scudetto hopes on Sunday when Adolfo Gaich’s second-half goal scored a shocking 1-0 win in Turin and ended the relegation fighters’ 11-game winless streak.
The Argentine pounced on a careless pass from Juve midfielder Arthur Melo to pull the deciding goal after 69 minutes, and the toothless hosts couldn’t find a pass beyond goalkeeper Lorenzo Montipo.
The defeat left the Juventus champions in third place, 10 points behind leaders Inter with 11 games to go.
Benevento’s hopes of survival have increased, moving seven points from the relegation zone to 16th position.
Andrea Pirlo’s Juve were unbeaten in the previous five league games but could not prevail over his former Milan teammate Filippo Inzaghi on the opposing bench, despite the hosts having scored nine shots on goal over that of Benevento.
Juve starts in attack with Cristiano Ronaldo on the side and Montipo rejects Alvaro Morata with a diving save.
The referee awarded Juve a handball penalty but overturned the decision following a review of the VAR, and Ronaldo found the net only to be denied by the offside flag.
The Portuguese striker, who scored a hat-trick against Cagliari in his last game, was hungry for goals and poked at Montipo’s palms before snapping a narrow shot on the turn.
But a catastrophic mistake by Arthur gave the patient visitors the advantage, as the Brazilian’s slow pass through his own penalty area was intercepted by Gaich, who closed in the lower corner.
Ronaldo was Juve’s biggest threat as he pushed for a draw in the final, but he couldn’t beat Montipo. The keeper stretched a leg to deny an attempt before parrying another which fell in Danilo’s trajectory but the defender blew the rebound.
Meanwhile, Zlatan Ibrahimovic marked his return to the starting lineup at AC Milan with a goal in a thrilling 3-2 win at Fiorentina, narrowing the gap with Serie A leaders Inter to six points.
The strike made him the oldest player to score 15 goals in a Serie A season, at 39 years and 169 days, and kicked off a frantic match in Florence.
The Swede needed just nine minutes to open the game after pulling off the offside trap in his first league appearance since injuring his muscles against AS Roma on 28 February.
Erick Pulgar and Franck Ribery scored on both sides of the interval to give the hosts the lead, but goals from Brahim Diaz and Hakan Calhanoglu turned the challenge in Milan’s favor.
Later on Sunday, Dries Mertens scored his 100th Serie A goal when his double secured Napoli a 2-0 away win against Roma’s top four rivals.
The Belgian striker curled up on a free-kick and headed home with a simple finish as Napoli took the lead by two goals after 34 minutes and the hosts were unable to muster a response.
Mertens is only the third Napoli player to reach 100 Serie A goals, after Marek Hamsik (100) and Antonio Vojak (102).
Lorenzo Pellegrini’s shot rocked the post for Roma in the second half, but it was another disappointing big game performance from Paulo Fonseca’s side, who have not won any of their games against the other top seven teams this season.
On the other hand, the win was important for Napoli in fifth place as it lifted three points ahead of Roma in sixth and two behind Juventus and Atalanta in third and fourth respectively. He also extended a good phase of form for Gennaro Gattuso’s team, who are now unbeaten in five league games, winning four.
Elsewhere, Atalanta equalized with Juve to 55 points and strengthened their fourth place with a 2-0 at Hellas Verona thanks to a penalty by Ruslan Malinovskyi and a goal by Duvan Zapata in the first half.
Adam Marusic’s curling goal earned Lazio a 1-0 win at Udinese that brought the Romans to seventh place one point behind AS Roma and Napoli, while Antonio Candreva scored the winner when Sampdoria, midfielder, he defeated Torino 1-0 in 17th place in Genoa.