Juventus win as president denies mafia ties
MILAN: Juventus beat a spirited Sampdoria 1-0 after Juan Cuadrado’s early goal to provisionally extend their lead in Serie A and take a step closer to a sixth successive Scudetto, while Napoli kept alive their faint title hopes with a 3-2 win at Empoli.
Juventus moved up to 73 points with nine games to play when Cuadrado, making his 50th appearance for the reigning champions, met Kwadwo Asamoah’s excellent cross from the left in the seventh minute with a diving header to give Massimiliano Allegri’s relentless league leaders an early lead.
Earlier, Napoli consolidated their grip on the Champions League places and moved 10 points behind Juve and provisionally above Roma into second on 63 points with an exhilarating win at Empoli.
Alejandro Gomez’s double and a goal from Alberto Grassi saw Atalanta bounce back from last weekend’s 7-1 humbling at Inter Milan and beat Pescara 2-0 to move back up to sixth on 55 points.
Meanwhile, Juventus president Andrea Agnelli, who faces a grilling by an Italian anti-mafia commission, on Saturday angrily denied claims he knowingly met bosses of a feared organised crime group.
Agnelli was summoned after wiretap evidence from an ongoing investigation into the ‘Ndrangheta linked staff at the Serie A champions to the Calabria-based criminal network.
It follows claims by an Italian football federation (FIGC) official that Agnelli and three other club officials maintained “contact” with an alleged ‘Ndrangheta member.
In a Twitter message last week Agnelli said he had “never met mafia bosses.”
And after receiving from federal prosecutors his summons to give evidence, Agnelli read out and then published a defiant statement of denial.
“As I said a few days ago, I have never met mafia bosses. At regular intervals, as you know, I meet with all different kinds of fans, whether they’re ticket-holders or members of groups of ultras,” he told media on Saturday. Agencies