Brilliant Bianconeri boost title bid against Lazio

Brilliant Bianconeri boost title bid against Lazio
Brilliant Bianconeri boost title bid against Lazio
Brilliant Bianconeri boost title bid against Lazio

Juventus gave their Scudetto aspirations a significant boost on Wednesday evening by beating Lazio 3-0 on Wednesday evening at Juventus Stadium – a result which sees the reigning champions move nine points clear of second-placed Napoli with just four matches remaining.

The Bianconeri were on the front foot right from the first whistle and fashioned their highest number of shots on target in any first-half this season (six). Lazio keeper Federico Marchetti did well to keep the scores level until the 39th minute, when Mario Mandzukic eventually broke down the Biancocelesti’s resistance, poking home from point-blank range to give his side a fully deserved lead at the break.

Massimiliano Allegri’s men maintained a sky-high intensity in the second half and ended up overwhelming the visitors, who saw Patricio Gabarron Gil sent off for a foul on Paulo Dybala only three minutes after the interval.

Then was the time for La Joya to take matters into his own hands with a pair of perfectly executed strikes, the first coming from the penalty spot and the second a brilliant right-footed drive.

The goals put Juventus in a position of strength they never looked like surrendering as they closed in on another crucial three points in their push for end-of-season honours.

A bright beginning by the Bianconeri saw them very nearly take a ninth-minute lead when Stephan Lichtsteiner raced onto Paul Pogba’s crossfield ball before picking out Dybala in the middle, but Marchetti made himself big to block from point-blank range.

The Biancocelesti stopper had already kept two clean sheets on the trot and he looked determined to keep a third here, getting down low to tip Pogba’s venomous half-volley around his near post just shy of the quarter-hour mark.

Five minutes later, he would see an even more ferocious effort fly just inches wide of the same upright, Alex Sandro providing the ammunition this time from wide left.

The hosts very much had the upper hand and really ought to have got their noses in front in the 21st minute when Sami Khedira played Pogba in one-on-one with Marchetti but the Frenchman fluffed his lines.

Moments later Dybala forced Marchetti into his fourth save of a frenzied first quarter of the match, La Joya seeing his instinctive, glancing header palmed away by the busy visiting keeper.

Following a couple of relatively harmless Lazio counter-attacks, the Bianconeri continued to pile on the pressure in the final third, as Pogba and Khedira both saw efforts drop just over the crossbar shortly after the half-hour mark.

Dybala would be denied yet again by Marchetti, but Allegri’s men continued to confirm their commitment to attack and deservedly took a 39th-minute lead when Mandzukic tapped home Pogba’s dangerous drive across the box. The goal was the Croatian’s third in his last four league outings.

Juventus began the second half in the same manner as they played out the entirety of the first, forcing Lazio backwards and into making defensive errors for which they would pay dearly.

On 48 minutes, right-back Patric received his marching orders for a foul on Dybala and within 200 seconds Wesley Hoedt brought down Leonardo Bonucci in the box for a penalty which La Joya coolly dispatched into the corner to put Juve in the driving seat.

The Argentine forward was at his bamboozling best on the evening and he got the whole Juventus Stadium crowd on its feet in the 64th minute, when he drilled Khedira’s centre past a helpless Marchetti with his less favoured right foot. The result was just as ruthlessly brilliant, however, and La Joya was left celebrating his 16th Serie A goal this term alongside every one of his team-mates and an ever-adoring home faithful.

Dybala and his 75th-minute replacement Simone Zaza would both keep Marchetti on his toes, but the damage had already been done and Allegri duly opted to rest some of his starters’ legs late on, Khedira making way for Stefano Sturaro and Pogba for Kwadwo Asamoah, as he could afford to shift one eye to this Sunday’s away match against Fiorentina.

There the Bianconeri will be determined to pick up a further three points in order to ask serious questions again of Napoli, who play away to Roma the following day.


Buffon, Barzagli, Bonucci, Rugani, Lichtsteiner, Khedira (Sturaro 70), Hernanes, Pogba (Asamoah 83), Alex Sandro, Mandzukic, Dybala (Zaza 75)

Unused substitutes: Rubinho, Audero, Evra, Padoin, Lemina, Cuadrado

Coach: Allegri


Marchetti; Patric, Hoedt, Gentiletti, Lulic; Parolo (Milinkovic 46), Biglia (Cataldi 77), Onazi; F. Anderson (Basta 54), Djordjevic, Keita

Unused substitutes: Berisha, Guerrieri, Braafheid, Morrison, Mauricio, Rossi, Palombi

Coach: Inzaghi

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