Juventus
    25.06.2015 16:08 - in: The team S

    Closing in on the 33rd Scudetto

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    Victories over Lazio and Fiorentina ensure the Serie A title is in the Bianconeri’s sights, while AS Monaco are dispatched at the Champions League quarter-final hurdle

    On 18 April 2015, Juventus went 15 points clear at the summit of Serie A after overcoming closest challengers Lazio 2-0 during an entertaining evening of football in Turin.

    Two strikes in the space of nine first-half minutes courtesy of Carlos Tevez and Leonardo Bonucci ensured Massimiliano Allegri’s men went one step closer to a 33rd Scudetto.

    L’Apache broke the deadlock on 17 minutes with his 18th goal of the 2014/15 campaign when he latched on to Arturo Vidal’s header before driving forward and burying the ball past Federico Marchetti.

    The lead was then doubled by Bonucci who coasted through from the halfway line and ended his excellent solo run by slotting beyond the Biancocelesti shotstopper.

    The visitors threatened to get back into proceedings during the second period, but two fantastic Gigi Buffon saves from Antonio Candreva and Lucas Biglia saw the Old Lady claim victory number 14 on home turf for the season.

    Four days later, Allegri’s troops were back in action against Monaco in the south of France, looking to secure a Champions League semi-final berth for the first time since 2003.

    With a 1-0 first-leg advantage already in their grasp, the Bianconeri knew that a resilient display and goalless draw would enable them to seal spot in Europe’s top four.

    And that’s exactly how it ended at the Stade Louis II as Italy’s reigning champions matched the Ligue 1 outfit throughout, portraying stern defensive mettle to grind out an excellent result which sparked mass celebrations among the travelling faithful.

    Champions League duties attended to, the big games just kept on coming with Juventus subsequently looking to secure a Derby della Mole domestic double over arch-rivals Torino at the Stadio Olimpico.

    All seemed to be going to plan when Andrea Pirlo put the visitors ahead on 35 minutes courtesy of his 28th free-kick in Italy’s top flight, seeing him draw level alongside Sinisa Mihajlovic at the summit of the set-piece standings.

    The Granata were level just ten minutes later however, Matteo Darmian striking the ball home after he had collected Fabio Quagliarella’s pass. Provider then turned goalscorer when his near-post finish saw Torino turn the heat up on their city cousins in the 57th minute.

    Allegri’s side could count themselves unlucky as the half wore on, after a combination of three posts and some fine Daniele Padelli goalkeeping allowed Torino to claim the Derby della Mole spoils for the first time since 1995.

    Determined to get the disappointment out of their systems, the league leaders were in action almost immediately, welcoming Fiorentina to Juventus Stadium for a mouthwatering midweek match-up.

    Following a low-key opening short on clear cut goalscoring opportunities, the visitors went 1-0 up on 33 minutes through Gonzalo Rodriguez who fired home from the penalty spot after Joaquin had been tripped by Andrea Pirlo in the area.

    But Pirlo soon righted the wrongs of his mistake just 120 seconds later, delivering an inch-perfect free-kick which Fernando Llorente nodded past a stranded Neto.

    And the comeback was complete ahead of the half-time interval, with Tevez diverting Patrice Evra’s pinpoint cross into the top corner of the net.

    Fiorentina then had an ideal opportunity to draw level once again from 12 yards midway through the second half, but Rodriguez blasted his spot kick well wide of the target.

    The Viola were consequently made to pay for that mistake when Tevez sprung the offside trap before arrowing a fantastic effort across Neto and in with around 20 minutes remaining.

    Substitute Josip Ilicic’s free-kick finish provided the hosts a late scare on the stroke of full-time, but there were to be no further threats as Allegri’s charges held on to go to within one point of reestablishing themselves as Scudetto champions for a 33rd time.

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