29.01.2017 17:09 - in: Match report S

    Marching on at the Mapei!

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    Goals from Gonzalo Higuain and Sami Khedira set up a convincing 2-0 win against Sassuolo on Sunday afternoon

    Massimiliano Allegri called on his side to leave Reggio Emilia with all three points for the first time in three years in the build up to this one and they duly delivered on Sunday afternoon as goals from Gonzalo Higuain and Sami Khedira set up a 17th league win in 21 matches.

    In control throughout, the Bianconeri found themselves two up inside 25 minutes thanks to superbly taken goals from Higuain, a piece of expert penalty box instinct, and Khedira, the German providing the perfect side-footed conclusion to a flowing team move.

    Rarely threatened by Sassuolo at the back and a constant menace going forward, this was one of Juventus’ finest performances on the road this season as they tightened their grip on top spot in Serie A.

    After an end-to-end start, unsurprising given the recent good form of both sides, it was the visitors who sped into an early and deserved lead inside 10 minutes.

    Mario Mandzukic and Alex Sandro combined superbly down the left side and the Brazilian whipped in the most enticing of near-post crosses for Higuain to poke past Andrea Consigli for his eight goal in six league games. 

    With Pipita in the mood, Juventus looked dangerous every time they stepped into the attacking third and perhaps ought to have doubled their advantage shortly afterwards, Higuain slashing wide after Mandzukic’s low, driven centre across the box had found his strike partner in acres of space.

    Chances remained in abundant supply for Massimiliano Allegri’s rampant side who seemed to outnumber Sassuolo all over the field and their relentless intensity and incision in attack ensured that it was only a matter of time before a second precious goal arrived. When it did, it came in some style. 

    Higuain seized possession deep in Sassuolo territory and cut the ball back for Paulo Dybala whose delicious dummy allowed the ball to roll into the path of Sami Khedira to guide the ball nonchalantly into the far corner.

    There was to be no letting up after the interval either from Juve, Dybala and Khedira both going close to adding a third after fine work from Higuain and Mandzukic respectively, the Neroverdi defence still unable to lay a glove on the vibrant visiting frontline.

    While the former’s touch let him down when played in behind in the previous chance, there was no such hesitancy on show for his next opportunity, the Argentine collecting Cuadrado’s square pass before smashing a low drive onto the base of the post with Consigli well beaten.

    At the other end, it took a fabulous double save from Gianluigi Buffon on the hour on Matteo Politano and Alessandro Matri – the skipper’s first touches of the game – a reminder for his team-mates to maintain their razor-sharp focus right until the end. 

    Gregoire Defrel and Alfred Duncan were introduced by home manager Eusebio Di Francesco to inject some added impetus into his side’s play but it was the Bianconeri who continued to pose the greater threat as the second half drew on, Mandzukic twice shooting wide at the back post after Higuain had been denied at point-blank range by Consigli.

    Marko Pjaca and Tomas Rincon emerged from the bench to ensure intensity remained high right until the final stages of the game as Juve coasted home to extend their lead at the top to four points following Roma’s 3-2 away defeat at Sampdoria.

    A perfect afternoon in Reggio Emilia.

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