A devastating first-half display brings plenty of festive cheer at Juventus Stadium. Vucinic, Pirlo and Marchisio on target as Conte’s men extend their lead at the top
The Bianconeri brought down the curtains on a fine 2012 at Juventus Stadium with a commanding 3-0 victory over Atalanta.
In truth, the destiny of the points was never in doubt following a barnstorming first-half display in which Juventus found themselves three goals ahead inside the opening 26 minutes.
Atalanta, who had lost their previous three encounters on the road in all competitions, barely had time to settle into their game plan before Consigli was picking the ball out the back of his net.
With the team’s first attack of the game, Giovinco played in Vucinic and the Montenegrin kept his cool to put the Bianconeri in the driving seat with just 80 seconds on the clock.
However, Juventus had to rely on the brilliance of Buffon to maintain their advantage after Marrone’s slip sent Denis racing towards goal. The goalkeeper stood his ground to pull off a magnificent save and dash the visitors’ hopes of mounting an instant fightback.
With Pirlo running the show from midfield as the hosts raided forward with intent, the midfield maestro gained his reward for a superb start to the encounter when Giovinco was obstructed by Bellini on 14 mintues, bringing the entire stadium to its feet by curling in the subsequent free-kick from 30 yards.
Refusing to settle for their two-goal cushion, Conte’s men almost made it three when a rare Chiellini forage into enemy territory saw the defender crash a fiercely-struck effort past the far post.
The third eventually arrived on 27 minutes, with Marchisio receiving the ball in acres of space and having plenty of time to steady himself before finding the bottom corner with a venomous strike from range.
Atalanta’s afternoon then went from bad to worse as Manfredini was given his marching orders following two bookable offences. Some choice words during the interval from opposing manager Stefano Colantuono steadied the visitors’ ship somewhat, but they were unable to fully stem the tide as Juventus streamed forward in numbers.
As the game wore on, Giovinco continued his personal duel with Nerazzurri goalkeeper Consigli, drawing a strong save from his curling left-footed strike on 49 minutes.
Also threatening the target was Quagliarella, on in place of Vucinic, but the Napoli-born frontman was left to rue his luck after seeing his close-range follow up chalked off for offside.
Conte continued to shuffle his pack after the break, introducing Padoin and Giaccherini in place of Barzagli and Marchisio. The midfield duo brought added energy to the Juventus midfield and continued the team’s quest for a greater lead.
Further efforts from Pirlo, Asamoah, Quagliarella and Vidal proved to be in vain as Massa’s final whistle brought a scintillating afternoon’s football to a close, extending Juve’s lead at the top to seven points and sending the Bianconeri faithful home with plenty of festive cheer.
JUVENTUS 3-0 ATALANTA
GOALS: Vucinic 2, Pirlo 14, Marchisio 27
Buffon; Barzagli (Padoin 63), Marrone, Chiellini; Lichtsteiner, Vidal, Pirlo, Marchisio (Giaccherini 69), Asamoah; Vucinic (Quagliarella 56), Giovinco.
Substitutes not used: Storari, Rubinho, Caceres, De Ceglie, Isla, Matri.
Consigli; Bellini, Manfredini, Lucchini, Peluso; Schelotto, Cigarini (Cazzola 74), Radovanovic (Biondini 46), Bonaventura (Stendardo 39); Moralez; Denis.
Substitutes not used: Frezzolini, Polito, Ferri, Raimondi, Brivio, Troisi, F.Pinto, Matheu, De Luca.
ASSISTANTS: Nicoletti, La Rocca
FOURTH OFFICIAL: Padovan
BOOKED: Manfredini 30, Manfredini 32
SENT OFF: Manfredini 32