Juventus three points clear after victory at Chievo
JUVENTUS continued their good form ahead of their Champions League clash with Celtic next week with a 2-1 win over mid-table Chievo at the Stadio Marc’Antonio Bentegodi – a result that puts them three points clear at the top of Serie A.
An early strike by Alessandro Matri was followed by a second just before the break by Stephan Lichtsteiner before Cyril Thereau reduced the arrears early in the second half. Thereau had a chance to level the scores shortly after, but in truth it was a victory the league leaders deserved with Antonio Conte’s side missing several chances to extend their lead late on.
Juventus, with Conte barred from the touchline for his furious outburst over the refereeing against Genoa last week, have responded well to the tight Serie A title race and goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon acknowledged: “It is very motivating to know you cannot afford to get anything wrong. There are 15 games to go and everything is still up for grabs.”
New signing Nicolas Anelka was an unused substitute for Juventus, who were without Mirko Vucinic and Leonardo Bonucci due to suspension, while midfielder Simone Pepe, striker Nicklas Bendtner and defender Giorgio Chiellini were out because of injury.
Those absences coupled with a victory at Lazio last time out would have buoyed the home side, but their hopes suffered a blow with Juventus taking the lead after just 10 minutes when Arturo Vidal’s cross from the right was volleyed home by Matri.
They almost extended their lead 10 minutes later when Matri linked up with Sebastian Giovinco who, after weaving his way past defenders in the box, blazed his effort over.
After 23 minutes Buffon was forced into his first save, keeping out an Alberto Paloschi’s effort.
Paloschi should have levelled the scores just after the half-hour mark, but the striker failed to get on the end of Thereau’s low cross.
And the home side were made to regret that miss three minutes before the break when Lichtsteiner scored.
Thereau’s strike for Chievo, seven minutes into the second half, was a neat finish past Buffon but, in truth, Juventus were always well in control.
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