Conte’s men strengthen their grip on top spot through strikes from Lichtsteiner, Giovinco and Pogba
The Bianconeri strengthened their grip on first place with this afternoon’s 3-0 win over Siena at Juventus Stadium.
Stephan Lichststeiner bundled the ball home to put Antonio Conte’s men in the driving seat with 31 minutes on the clock, while Sebastian Giovinco and Paul Pogba pounced in the dying stages to guarantee a richly deserved three points.
Juventus burst out the traps with plenty of purpose and forged a number of chances in a fundamentally one-sided opening to the affair.
Bonucci was first to try his luck on goal, drifting away from his marker to catch Siena unawares from Giovinco’s short corner played to the edge of the penalty area, only to miscue his shot on the turn at the vital moment.
A sustained spell of pressure then presented Pirlo with the chance to test Pegolo with a trademark free-kick from 30 yards. The midfielder dispatched a clean right-footed strike, but was unable to keep the ball from rising fractionally over the crossbar.
After initially struggling to get into their passing groove, Juventus soon established greater continuity in midfield and almost went ahead when Lichtsteiner and Vucinic combined neatly on the right flank, with the Swiss full-back’s clipped effort from the edge of the area drifting just clear of the target.
Sensing the elusive breakthrough could be just a matter of moments away, Conte’s men continued to bombard the Siena penalty area with a sustained assault in the attacking third.
Pegolo was called into action on 19 minutes, sprawling to his left to claw out Marchisio’s curling goalbound attempt from the edge of the area. And the goalkeeper’s reflexes were again required three minutes later to repel Giovinco’s left-footed strike that arrowed ominously inside the near post.
The Bianconeri’s persistence eventually paid off when Vucinic threaded a delicate pass into the path of the onrushing Lichtsteiner, who shrugged off Pegolo’s attempt to smother by forcing the ball over the line to put the hosts a goal to the good on 31 minutes.
Inspired by a passionate following at Juventus Stadium, Conte’s men sought to strengthen their grip on proceedings by establishing a two-goal cushion. Pogba, deputising in midfield for fitness doubt Vidal, was next to draw a save from the Siena shot stopper with a low drilled attempt following a spirited burst from deep.
Relegation-threatened Siena, who approached the encounter off the back of commendable wins over Lazio and Inter, emerged for the restart with the intention of breaking up the hosts’ traditional passing approach.
But while the Tuscan outfit’s endeavour could not be faulted, Juventus continued to make their class show. Vucinic went a whisker away from connecting with Giovinco’s inviting delivery on 58 minutes, while Pirlo almost brought the house down a minute later with a breathtaking chip from the edge of the area that passed just wide of the upright with Pegolo rooted to the spot.
The Bianconeri, however, were made to wait until 74 minutes before extending their advantage. Pirlo played a quick free-kick into the path of Giovinco, and the striker made no mistake with a fierce left-footed strike that flashed past Pegolo into the top corner.
The visitors refused to go down without a fight and Juventus had Buffon to thank for two saves as the game drew towards its final stages. Emeghara and Agra were both denied by the goalkeeper’s agility, while Terlizzi set nerves jangling with a long-range attempt that bounced back off the woodwork.
But any fears of a Siena comeback were allayed when Pogba drove towards the opposition area and found the bottom corner with a superbly placed strike on 89 minutes.
The result takes Juventus seven points clear of nearest rivals Napoli, who travel to Udinese tomorrow evening.
JUVENTUS 3-0 SIENA
GOALS: Lichsteiner 31, Giovinco 74, Pogba 89
Buffon; Barzagli, Bonucci, Peluso; Lichtsteiner, Pogba, Pirlo, Marchisio, Asamoah (Chiellini 77); Giovinco (Giaccherini 81), Vucinic (Matri 64).
Substitutes not used: Storari, Rubinho, Marrone, Isla, Vidal, Padoin, Quagliarella, Anelka.
Pegolo; Teixeira, Terlizzi, Felipe; Belmonte, Bolzoni, Della Rocca (Verre 90+2), Rubin; Valiani (Pozzi 65), Rosina (Agra 74); Emeghara.
Substitutes not used: Farelli, Uvini, Matheu, Grillo, Paci, Calello, Mannini, Bogdani, Reginaldo.
ASSISTANTS: Altomare, Crispo
FOURTH OFFICIAL: Rubino
BOOKINGS: Della Rocca 24, Bonucci 40