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14 Apr 2014 - in: Serie A

Giovinco and Llorente earn crucial win in Udine

Both strikers find the target during the first half of tonight’s 2-0 win over Udinese, regaining the Bianconeri’s eight-point lead at the summit of Serie A

Two goals in 10 first-half minutes from strike partners Sebastian Giovinco and Fernando Llorente enabled the Bianconeri to once again go eight points clear of nearest title rivals Roma at the top of Serie A with tonight’s 2-0 away win over Udinese.

A cagey introduction was brought to life by Giovinco’s fine left-footed curler from the edge of the area on 16 minutes, his second Serie A effort of the season, while Llorente continued his purple patch in front of goal when he pounced to add a second 10 minutes later.

Having seemingly taken the sting out of Udinese with two first-half blows, Juventus maintained their composure after the break, keeping the ball to good effect to ultimately nullify the threat of an outfit who approached the game boasting four wins from their last five on home soil.

Lining up in matching 3-5-2 systems, both sides used a closely fought opening period to get the measure of each other. But with Juventus commanding possession from the word go, it seemed only a matter of time before their dominance enabled them to edge into the final third.

This moment duly arrived on 16 minutes, and it was Giovinco who snatched the lead with the visitors’ first attempt on goal. Gathering Pogba’s pass on the edge of the area, the striker outfoxed his marker and cut inside before unleashing a magnificent curling effort that nestled in the far corner.

With confidence flowing following his third strike in two seasons at the Stadio Friuli, Giovinco fashioned the opportunity to double his tally soon afterwards, this time shifting the ball onto his right foot and drawing a diving stop from Simone Scuffet with 25 minutes played.

Barely 60 seconds later, Juventus made it two. A corner whipped into the box caused a moment of hesitation in the hosts’ rearguard and after missing out on an earlier attempt to turn the ball goalwards, Llorente made no mistake with his second bite of the cherry, poking home to send Antonio Conte jumping for joy on the touchline.

Requiring an instant response to the shock of conceding two goals in the space of 10 minutes, Udinese improved to gain greater control of the ball and steadied the ship defensively, but still lacked cutting edge in attack despite the presence of returning skipper Antonio Di Natale.

A scrappy introduction to the second period saw both sides struggle to get into their respective passing games, yet Juventus remained in the ascendency and grew in stature as time wore on.

Galvanised by an inspired Giovinco, the Bianconeri almost made it three when fine footwork from the diminutive frontman enabled him to shift the ball away from Dusan Basta in a tight spot, only to see his ensuing effort clip off the far post and roll clear to safety.

That proved to be the visitors’ final opportunity of the encounter, with Maurizio Domizzi and Luis Muriel each squandering late chances to pull one back for Udinese in the dying embers.

The final whistle brought confirmation of Juventus’ 12th away victory of the current campaign, a success which represents another test passed with flying colours as Conte’s men edge closer to making the dream of a third consecutive Scudetto a genuine reality.