Pjanic answers critics as Juve labour to Chievo win
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