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Higuain brace takes Juve closer to sixth title in a row

  • Published at 09:50 pm April 15th, 2017
  • Last updated at 06:10 am April 16th, 2017
Higuain brace takes Juve closer to sixth title in a row
Juve were given a helping hand by Atalanta who held second-placed AS Roma to a 1-1 draw at the Stadio Olimpico, adding to an unhappy spell for the host who have recently been knocked out of the Europa League and Italian Cup. Third-placed Napoli edged to within two points of Roma with a 3-0 win at home to Udinese. Palermo drew 0-0 at home to Bologna, ending a run of five successive defeats, as Diego Bortoluzzi began his reign as their fifth coach of the season. The visiting side played for more than an hour with 10 men after Erick Pulgar was sent off. Juve have 80 points with Roma on 72 and Napoli 70. AC Milan stayed sixth, the last of the Europa League spots, and two points clear of seventh-placed Inter Milan. Higuain turned in Juan Cuadrado's cross to give Juve a 23rd-minute lead at Pescara and he slid in the second just before halftime after Mario Mandzukic knocked the ball into his path. Atalanta took a first-half lead at Roma with Jasmin Kurtic's volley before Mohamed Salah laid the ball off for Edin Dzeko to level soon after the interval with his 25th goal of the season. Daniele De Rossi, with a bicycle kick, and Radja Nainggolan both hit the woodwork as Roma pressed desperately for a winner. Napoli, the league's top scorers with 75 goals, broke through against Udinese three minutes into the second half when Dries Mertens ran onto Jorginho's through ball and comfortably beat Orestis Karnezis. Midfielder Allan bullied Ali Adnan off the ball before rifling in the second in the 63rd minute, just after Duvan Zapata hit the post for Udinese, and Jose Callejon added the third. Torino forward Andrea Belotti won and converted a controversial penalty against Crotone to take his season's tally to 25 and stay level with Dzeko as Serie A's joint top-scorer, but Simy earned the relegation-threatened touring side a 1-1 draw. Empoli boosted their survival hopes by beating Fiorentina 2-1 away with another controversial penalty awarded for an alleged trip by Borja Valero on Manuel Pucciarelli. Manuel Pasqual ignored the Fiorentina protests to convert and put Empoli, who are 17th, five points clear of the relegation zone which features Crotone, Palermo and Pescara. Fourth-placed Lazio twice came from behind to draw 2-2 at Genoa where Ivan Juric was back on the bench, less than three months after previously being fired. RESULTS Cagliari 4 (Borriello 11, Sau 15, Pedro 40, 90) Chievo 0 Fiorentina 1 (Tello 64) Empoli 2 (El Kaddouri 37, Pasqual 90+3-P) Genoa 2 (Simone 10, Pandev 78) Lazio 2 (Biglia 45+2, Alberto 90+1) Palermo 0 Bologna 0 Pescara 0 Juventus 2 (Higuain 23, 43) Roma 1 (Dzeko 50) Atalanta 1 (Kurtic 22) Torino 1 (Belotti 66-P) Crotone 1 (Simy 81) Sassuolo 2 (Ragusa 49, Acerbi 56) Sampdoria 1 (Silvestre 28) Napoli 3 (Mertens 48, Allan 63, Callejon 72) Udinese 0   POINTS TABLE Teams P W D L GD Pts Juventus 32 26 2 4 44 80 Roma 32 23 3 6 43 72 Napoli 32 21 7 4 42 70 Lazio 32 18 7 7 18 61 Atalanta 32 18 6 8 18 60 Milan 32 17 7 8 14 58
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