Own goal keeps Ju­ven­tus on top

Malta Independent - - SPORT -

It was meant to be the match where Mario Mandzu­kic showed he could be more than an un­der­study to Gon­zalo Higuain this sea­son.

In­stead, the Croa­tia for­ward again ap­peared off form and dis­in­ter­ested as Ju­ven­tus strug­gled to a hard-fought 1-0 win at Palermo in Serie A on Satur­day.

This was the first time the duo played to­gether in a tac­ti­cal ex­per­i­ment that ap­pears to have failed. Ju­ven­tus looked thor­oughly unim­pres­sive.

Ju­ven­tus found it hard to break down a re­silient Palermo side and the only goal came about thanks to a slice of for­tune for Mas­si­m­il­iano Al­le­gri's side three min­utes after the break. Dani Alves' long-range ef­fort took a mas­sive de­flec­tion off Edoardo Goldaniga's heel, send­ing the ball past Palermo goal­keeper Josip Posavec.

In Si­cily, Mandzu­kic again failed to im­press, wast­ing a free header in the first half and see­ing a tame ef­fort saved in the 70th, when he should have done bet­ter from close range.

The for­mer Bay­ern Mu­nich for­ward did have the ball in the back of the net mo­ments later but he was off­side when Dani Alves' free kick was floated in. .

Mandzu­kic, who played only the fi­nal 10 min­utes of the mid­week 4-0 vic­tory over Cagliari, started in last week­end's 2-1 de­feat at In­ter Mi­lan, but Ju­ven­tus looked much more threat­en­ing when he was re­placed by Higuain with a quar­ter of an hour re­main­ing.

Napoli kept the pace with the cham­pi­ons beat­ing high fly­ing Chievo with a pol­ished dis­play.

Napoli put their minds at rest thanks to two goals scored in the first half by Gab­bia­dini and cap­tain Marek Ham­sik.

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