Juve extend lead over Inter to seven points

16 December 2012 05:17

Juventus extended their lead over title challengers Inter Milan to seven points thanks to a 3-0 rout of Atalanta on Sunday as AC Milan continued their Serie A resurgence with a 4-1 defeat of Pescara.

Champions Juve held a four-point lead going into their 17th match of the campaign but took full advantage of the Nerazzurri's 1-0 defeat away to Lazio on Saturday to pull clear of the pack.

Montenegrin striker Mirko Vucinic opened the scoring with barely 90 seconds on the clock, and midfield veteran Andrea Pirlo doubled Juve's lead on the quarter-hour with a sublime, curling freekick.

Claudio Marchisio made it three for Juve with a low drive from the edge of the area after latching on to Sebastian Giovinco's squared pass.

Atalanta were reduced to 10 men before the half hour when Thomas Manfredini was red carded for a second bookable offence after a rash challenge on defender Giorgio Chiellini.

The Bergamo side came back into the game in the second half but failed to find a way past the Juve defence.

With only one more league game before the festive break, the Bianconeri lead Inter by seven points while third-placed Napoli can move up to second if they beat Bologna at home in Sunday's late match.

However, coach Antonio Conte remains cautious: "It was a good result for us against a difficult team, but the season is far from over.

"Winning the title is never easy but through our good organisation and solid play we hope to show it's within our grasp."

Milan's resurgence, following a disastrous start to the season, continued as the Rossoneri put four goals past outclassed league newboys Pescara.

It took less than a minute for Milan to go in front thanks to Alberto Nocerino.

Midfielder Robinho, who has recently been linked with a move back to his native Brazil, sidestepped a challenge to square for Riccardo Montolivo on the edge of the area and the midfielder fed Stephan El Shaarawy to his right.

With the path to goal blocked by onrushing keeper Mattia Perin, El Shaarawy squared for Nocerino who had the simplest of tap-ins.

Milan doubled their lead minutes after the restart when Pescara striker Elvis Abbruscato headed home Robinho's cross following a short corner with El Shaarawy.

Pescara were given hope when Christian Terlizzi rose to meet a free kick from the right to beat Marco Amelia in the Milan goal just before the hour.

But a dominant Milan were far from finished.

In the closing 10 minutes El Shaarawy saw a goalbound shot blocked by Terlizzi, only for Milan to score moments later when Brazilian striker Jonathas headed El Shaarawy's corner past Perin.

El Shaarawy was not to be denied, and powered down the left to slot home Giampaolo Pazzini's low cross for his league-topping 14th goal of the season.

Earlier, Fiorentina's 4-1 rout of Siena, complete with a brace from former Italy striker Luca Toni, saw La Viola leapfrog Roma into fifth place.

Roma had hoped to restore order on their away trip to Chievo, a match played in heavy fog, but suffered a 1-0 defeat following a late goal by Chievo striker Sergio Pellissier.

Elsewhere, an on-form Catania took a precious 3-1 home win over Sampdoria and Parma were in similar form with a 4-1 home win over Cagliari thanks in part to a brace from Algerian striker Ishak Belfodil.

Source: AFP