Ju­ven­tus crush Cagliari to go back on top

Malta Independent - - SPORT -

Ju­ven­tus cer­tainly got back on track, and top of the ta­ble, thrash­ing Cagliari 4-0 with Daniele Ru­gani and Dani Alves un­ex­pected scor­ers.

The Bian­coneri were in dire need of a boost af­ter a 0-0 Cham­pi­ons League draw with Sevilla and 2-1 Serie A de­feat to In­ter on Sun­day. Pa­trice Evra and Medhi Be­na­tia joined Clau­dio Marchi­sio on the treat­ment ta­ble, so Daniele Ru­gani and Her­nanes got rare starts. Gon­zalo Higuain and Dani Alves re­turned to the start­ing XI. It was a come­back of sorts for Marco Storari, Si­mone Padoin and Marco Bor­riello against their for­mer club, though Mauri­cio Isla was in­jured.

Storari was again de­ci­sive with a won­der­ful one-handed save on Higuain’s vol­ley from close range, but could do noth­ing when Daniele Ru­gani tapped in the re­bound. It was quite a way to mark the young de­fender’s sea­sonal de­but.

Storari once more per­formed a fine re­ac­tion save on Pjanic, but just like the first goal, Juve were quicker to re­act and Higuain turned in the re­bound.

Cagliari’s de­fend­ing on a cor­ner left some­thing to be de­sired, as Pjanic rolled it to the edge of the box for to­tally un­marked Dani Alves to smash his first goal in a Ju­ven­tus jersey.

Gigi Buf­fon went on at half­time with a mus­cu­lar prob­lem and Storari con­tin­ued to keep the score­line down with fine saves on a Pjanic free kick at the near post and Her­nanes lob.

Mario Lem­ina thought he’d added a fourth late on, but his fin­ish at the near post was par­ried by Storari and bounced in off a help­less Luca Cep­pitelli.

The Partenopei were top of the Serie A ta­ble com­ing into this mid­week round and the only team still un­beaten, but faced a Genoa side who lost their first match of the sea­son at Sas­suolo and were on strong form. Miguel Veloso sat out a ban for in­sult­ing the ref­eree.

Marek Ham­sik rat­tled the frame of the goal with a fe­ro­cious right-foot strike from the edge of the box af­ter 19 min­utes.

Mo­ments later, Pepe Reina had to flap a Diego Lax­alt cross off the head of Leonardo Pav­o­letti as he was about to nod into an empty net.

It re­mained a wide open game, but in­ex­pli­ca­bly with no goals. Lorenzo In­signe came off the bench and his first touch un­usu­ally let him down.

With prac­ti­cally the last kick of the game, a cross was rolled in for Sime­one, whose fin­ish was fan­tas­ti­cally par­ried from point-blank range by Reina.

Mauro Icardi was again ruth­less in at­tack, as In­ter notched up a third con­sec­u­tive Serie A vic­tory to leave Em­poli emp­ty­handed.

The Ner­az­zurri were brim­ming with con­fi­dence af­ter a shock 2-1 Derby d’Italia vic­tory over Ju­ven­tus, though Frank de Boer warned that they wouldn’t get any­where with­out the same at­ti­tude seen in that show­down. That made a trip to lit­tle Em­poli a par­tic­u­larly stern test of their con­sis­tency.

Mauro Icardi con­tin­ued his amaz­ing scor­ing record by break­ing the dead­lock with a div­ing header from six yards on An­to­nio Can­dreva’s cross, but the Em­poli de­fend­ers just stood look­ing at him.

Mau­rito was on tar­get again soon af­ter, as Joao Mario in the new role won back pos­ses­sion to im­me­di­ately thread through for Icardi, spring­ing the off­side trap for a calm side-foot fin­ish. Bologna-Sam­p­do­ria .......................... 2-0 AS Roma-Cro­tone .............................. 4-0 Ata­lanta-Palermo .............................. 0-1 Chievo-Sas­suolo ................................ 2-1 Em­poli-In­ter ...................................... 0-2 Genoa-Napoli .................................... 0-0 Ju­ven­tus-Cagliari ............................... 4-0 Pescara-Torino .................................. 0-0 Udi­nese-Fiorentina ........................... 2-2

Stand­ings

F 11 12 13 7 7 8 7 6 5 8 6 5 5 8 6 3 7 2 6 3 A Pts 4 12 5 11 5 10 4 10 5 10 7 9 9 9 4 7 4 7 7 7 8 7 7 6 8 6 6 5 7 5 6 5 11 4 6 4 11 3 11 1

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