Pjanic an­swers crit­ics as Juve labour to Chievo win

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

BOS­NIA mid­fielder Mi­ralem Pjanic (pix) si­lenced his crit­ics with a su­perb free­kick win­ner as in­jury­de­pleted Ju­ven­tus laboured to a 2-1 win at Chievo to stretch their Serie A lead yes­ter­day.

In a hard-fought en­counter that saw de­fender Andrea Barza­gli stretchered off after just four min­utes, Ju­ven­tus were given an­other re­minder their bid for a record sixth con­sec­u­tive league ti­tle is far from be­ing a for­mal­ity.

Napoli are now nine points adrift after a 1-1 draw at home to Lazio on Satur­day, but Roma moved back up to sec­ond at just four points be­hind after a Mo­hamed Salah hat-trick in­spired them to a 3-0 romp over Bologna.

AC Milan’s purple patch con- tin­ued with a pre­cious 2-1 win at Palermo that moved Vincenzo Mon­tella’s men up to third at five points off Ju­ven­tus, whose bid for glory at home and in Eu­rope is ex­act­ing a heavy toll.

“The lads played well, we cre­ated quite a few chances and prob­a­bly should have won with a big­ger mar­gin,” he told Pre­mium Sport. “But it’s a pre­cious win from a dif­fi­cult match that has come amid a tough month of fix­tures.

The cham­pi­ons were al­ready with­out de­fender Gior­gio Chiellini and Al­le­gri dropped Leonardo Bonucci to the bench after he suf­fered a thigh in­jury in a mid­week Cham­pi­ons League draw with Lyon.

But Bonucci was forced into ac­tion to re­place Barza­gli fell awk­wardly and dis­lo­cated his left shoul­der.

“I asked Higuain and Mandzu­kic to give me ev­ery­thing, and they did,” added Al­le­gri. “We needed some­one to run be­tween the lines and in the ab­sence of Dy­bala, Higuain is do­ing a fine job.”

At Palermo, Suso stole the show for AC Milan in a 2-1 win that saw Josip Posavec per­form hero­ics for the hosts.

Suso pounced on a re­bound from the Palermo ‘keeper on the quar­ter-hour to fire into a vir­tu­ally empty net from just in­side area.

Ilija Nestorovski’s 71st minute equaliser raised home hopes but after Posavec stopped Suso with one-handed saves three times in the fi­nal quar­ter-hour, the Slove­nian was beaten by Gian­luca La­padula’s deft back­heel flick, his maiden Serie A goal.

Salah said he can’t wait to get back chal­leng­ing in the league. “I’m happy for the hat­trick,” he told Pre­mium Sport. “But we want to keep go­ing like this and win all our games. Now we’re just four be­hind Juve and four ahead of Napoli. – AFP

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