17.10.2014 10:45 - in: Serie A S

      Last time out against the Neroverdi

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      A performance befitting of champions sees the Bianconeri come back from a goal down against Sassuolo to run out 3-1 winners in Reggio Emilia

      Antonio Conte’s Juventus took a big step towards retaining the Serie A title thanks to a 3-1 victory over Sassuolo on a very wet April evening in Reggio Emilia.

      Up against a relegation-threatened Neroverdi outfit unbeaten in their last three top flight games, the Bianconeri were looking to bounce back after a spirited performance was ultimately unable to prevent them from slipping to an away defeat against Benfica on the Thursday.

      The home side started the brighter and with only two minutes played, Nicola Sansone burst past the Juventus backline before dragging his shot just wide of Gigi Buffon’s upright.

      But it wouldn’t take long for the Neroverdi to deservedly get their noses in front when Simone Zaza’s effort took a deflection off Angelo Ogbonna and squeezed under the number one’s body seven minutes later.

      Sassuolo’s opener spurred Conte’s outfit into action and with 22 minutes played, Carlos Tevez got his first sight of goal when he saw his shot fly just wide of Gianluca Pegolo’s post following promising build-up play from Kwadwo Asamoah and Giorgio Chiellini.

      The Bianconeri began to exert more pressure on the Neroverdi shotstopper before finally breaking through a stubborn Sassuolo defence nine minutes before the break.

      Claudio Marchisio picked the ball up 25 yards out before squaring to Tevez who shimmied away from his marker and fired home from the edge of the area to equalise.

      There was still time for Sassuolo to fashion an opportunity before the interval when the lively Zaza found himself put clean through, but an excellent save from Buffon kept the scores level.

      As the old adage goes, scoring before half-time gives you a psychological advantage and L’Apache’s goal did just that by undoing all of the home side’s good work and galvanising Conte’s men. 

      The start of the second-half showed just that and began at the same fast pace with Sassuolo firmly on their toes as they tried to prevent a Bianconeri onslaught on Pegolo’s goal.

      Juventus finally gained a foothold in the encounter on 58 minutes when Andrea Pirlo’s exquisite through-ball found Marchisio who sidefooted past the onrushing Neroverdi goalkeeper. 

      A barrage of chances then followed for the Old Lady and Pegolo had to be quick to get down and push away Marchisio’s drilled shot towards goal midway through the second-half after good link-up between the midfielder and Pogba.

      Tevez then saw his curled effort cannon agonisingly back off the crossbar after Stephan Lichtsteiner had picked out the Argentine and it was to be the Swiss defender who would have a hand in the final goal.

      With 14 minutes to go on Antonio Damato’s watch, Lichtsteiner marauded down the right wing in one of his trademark runs before crossing for Fernando Llorente.  By holding off his marker on the six-yard line, Juventus’ targetman finished with aplomb to wrap up all three points.

      There was still time for a late Neroverdi rally but Buffon was alert to first smother at the feet of Sergio Floccari before saving the Sassuolo number nine’s follow-up to keep the two-goal cushion intact.

      During the post-match interviews, marksman Marchisio praised his side’s performance in a pivotal result that put the Bianconeri in pole position for domestic success. 

      Tevez, meanwhile, had his eyes firmly on the collective prize rather than any individual accolade.

      Rewatch the Bianconeri’s 3-1 win over Sassuolo at the Mapei Stadium by checking out our exclusive match highlights:

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