08.04.2017 22:57 - in: Match report S

      Juve cruise past Chievo

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      Gonzalo Higuain scores a brace in the Bianconeri’s 2-0 home win over Chievo on Saturday ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League tie with Barcelona

      It was business as usual for the Bianconeri on Saturday night, their 2-0 win over Chievo providing the perfect prelude to Tuesday’s keenly awaited Champions League quarter-final first leg against Barcelona.

      Fresh from his brace in midweek against Napoli in the Coppa Italia, Gonzalo Higuain was the star of the show once more as he notched another pair of strikes either side of half-time to hand Juventus three precious points in their pursuit of a sixth successive Scudetto title.

      Both goals, unmistakably Pipita-esque for their predatory fashion, mean that the Argentine forward took his tally to 26 for the season in all competitions, as his side now sit nine points clear of nearest rivals Roma, who play their game in hand tomorrow, with seven league fixtures remaining.

      Early pressure pays off

      The Bianconeri might have been in action twice in only the previous six days, but they showed no signs of lethargy in the early stages of this match.

      Sami Khedira blasted an effort straight at Andrea Seculin after 17 minutes and the Chievo stopper was called into action again moments later by a rasping Paulo Dybala drive that looked destined to finish in the top corner.

      On 23 minutes however, the hosts had made the breakthrough: Dybala cut the ball back to Higuain who swept mercilessly into the bottom corner to bring up his 20th league goal this season.

      Bianconeri bang on the door

      Pipita’s landmark strike paved the way to a series of Juve attacks, in which they forced several corners in the closing stages of the first half without scoring the much sought-after second goal.

      Gianluigi Buffon, back between the sticks tonight, was tested for the first occasion of the game shortly after the break when he blocked Sergio Pellissier’s stinging effort, and Juve’s Numero Uno was in positon to gather Riccardo Meggiorini’s glancing header just a few minutes later.

      By the hour-mark, the Bianconeri were back on top and very nearly doubled their advantage when Higuain sent a blistering shot inches wide of Seculin’s post from the edge of the area.

      Stefano Sturaro saw his goalbound shot blocked on 70 minutes, Dybala struck whiskers to the wrong side of the upright and Pipita somehow missed the target from just a few yards out, as Juve kept banging on the door in a bid to put the game beyond Chievo once and for all.

      Pipita puts game to bed

      Valter Birsa’s venomous volley, fortunately aimed straight at Buffon, served as a reminder with 10 minutes left that the match was far from over. That is until Higuain bagged his second of the evening in typically predatory fashion.

      Following some dazzling build-up play from Dybala, who played in Lichtsteiner down the right, Pipita picked up the Swiss Express’ cross inside the six-yard box, coolly sidestepped the keeper before burying home to the delight of the sellout crowd at Juventus Stadium.

      Game, set, match and now a healthy lead over their nearest title challengers. Massimiliano Allegri’s men head into Tuesday’s tie against Barcelona with their tails firmly up.

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