Juventus get title drive back into gear

Click to follow
The Independent Football

Juventus got their title charge back on track with a 2-1 win over fourth-placed Udinese in Turin yesterday. The result gave Juventus 53 points from 24 matches, five ahead of the reigning champions Milan, who were due to play Reggina later on.

Juventus got their title charge back on track with a 2-1 win over fourth-placed Udinese in Turin yesterday. The result gave Juventus 53 points from 24 matches, five ahead of the reigning champions Milan, who were due to play Reggina later on.

Juve's cushion at the top had been cut from eight points to two after they lost their previous two matches against Sampdoria and Bologna.

The 27-time champions scraped past a well-organised Udinese side 1-0 when they met earlier this season but the return promised to be a much easier affair for the hosts when, with less than a minute gone, the striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic squeezed between two defenders to score his 10th goal of the season.

The visitors almost equalised just after the half-hour mark, when Dino Fava narrowly failed to connect with a low cross that bounced dangerously across the face of Juve's goal.

Udinese's hopes of pulling themselves into the match were dented soon after the break, however, when the Juve midfielder Mauro Camoranesi lashed a left-foot drive into the top corner after a neat one-two with team-mate Alessandro Del Piero.

Udinese were unlucky not to pull one back midway through the half, when Fava headed past the goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, only for his effort to be wrongly ruled offside. David Di Michele hit a late consolation goal for Udinese with less than a minute to play.

Udinese's one consolation was the failure of fifth-placed Sampdoria to take advantage of their defeat. Sampdoria had won their previous three games on the road, including a victory over Juventus, but their form deserted them as they went down 1-0 at Livorno.

Cristiano Lucarelli struck the winner with a free-kick that wriggled through the wall eight minutes from time, ensuring Sampdoria remained stuck on 38 points, two behind Udinese.

Dino Zoff ended a run of three defeats since being appointed the Fiorentina coach last month as his side beat visiting relegation-threatened Parma 2-1, while Brescia boosted their chances of escaping the drop with a 2-0 home win over Cagliari. On Saturday, two Sinisa Mihajlovic free-kicks gave Internazionale a 2-0 win over Roma. The 35-year-old defender broke the deadlock in the 23rd minute, when he curled the ball past Ivan Pelizzoli from a wide position outside the area.

Then, in the first minute of stoppage time, Philippe Mexes was sent off for a second bookable offence and Mihajlovic rifled in the resulting free-kick to seal the victory.

Lazio climbed four points clear of the relegation zone with a 2-1 win over Atalanta. The midfielder Fabio Liverani broke the deadlock with just a minute of normal time remaining when he beat the goalkeeper Alex Calderoni with a shot from inside the area.

Comments