A spectacular bicycle kick from Simy has given Crotone a precious draw with Juventus, closing the gap from Napoli to just four points.
The Bianconeri extended their lead at the top of the table to six points and wanted to keep it that way ahead of Sunday’s showdown with Napoli, but visited a Crotone side in the drop zone and desperate for a positive result. Mario Mandzukic, Mattia De Sciglio and Miralem Pjanic were out injured, while the hosts missed Ante Budimir, Andrea Nalini and Ahmad Benali.
Crotone had faced Juve three times before in Serie A, losing each time without finding the net.
Douglas Costa had a hat-trick of assists against Sampdoria at the weekend and added another here, his cross after a short corner finding Alex Sandro for a glancing header at the near post that flew across the face of goal.
Wojciech Szczesny, on his 28th birthday, was alert to smother a Simy daisy-cutter and Douglas Costa skimmed the upright.
On 58 minutes, Szczesny picked up a Medhi Benatia back-pass under pressure from Simy and this gave Crotone an indirect free kick from the outside edge of the six-yard box, but the Marco Davide Faraoni effort was charged down.
Crotone did get their equaliser in truly spectacular fashion and one reminiscent of the Cristiano Ronaldo stunner in Turin, as Simy turned in a magnificent bicycle-kick.
Blaise Matuidi’s scorcher was palmed out from the far top corner, then Higuain’s volley was straight at Alex Cordaz’s legs and another Pipita attempt was charged down by Marco Capuano, but Juve seemed uninspired and complacent.