Juventus stay on course as Shevchenko inspires Milan

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The Independent Football

Juventus continued their march towards a 29th Serie A title with a 1-0 away victory over Sampdoria on Saturday, Pavel Nedved scoring the winner with a 68th-minute header.

Juventus always looked the more likely to score against a home side whose hopes of European football next season suffered a further setback. Nedved, making up for the absence of the injured strikers David Trezeguet and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, finished off an Adrian Mutu cross, while Sergio Volpi hit the bar for Sampdoria in the first half.

Andrei Shevchenko came off the bench to inspire second-placed Milan to a 3-0 win over Empoli at San Siro and just about keep the title race alive.

The Ukrainian replaced Alberto Gilardino in the 70th minute and Filippo Inzaghi finally broke the deadlock seven minutes later, gathering Johann Vogel's pass on the edge of the area, turning his marker and blasting a left-foot shot home.

Shevchenko soon made it 2-0 and Inzaghi scored a lucky second goal in the 86th minute when Shevchenko's free-kick deflected off his shins to beat Daniele Balli in the Empoli goal.

Yesterday, Fiorentina had an injury-time goal from Giampaolo Pazzini to thank for a 2-1 win over Siena in the Tuscan derby.

Pazzini had come on as substitute for Luca Toni, Serie A's top scorer, who had earlier given the home side the lead with his 23rd league goal of the season. Simone Vergassola then equalised for Siena before Pazzini struck.

Livorno's grip on sixth place loosened when they lost 1-0 at home to Cagliari, David Suazo's 77th-minute goal giving the Sardinian side their first away win of the season.

In France, Marseille's reserve side held Paris-St Germain to a 0-0 draw yesterday. The former European champions had played their reserves in protests over the safety of their team and supporters at Parc des Princes. More than 1,000 policemen were deployed around the stadium.