Matri brace inspires Juventus

Striker returns to haunt former team as struggling giants beat Cagliari and end run of poor form in Italy's Serie A.

    Juve's win eases the pressure on coach Luigi Delneri [GALLO/GETTY]

    Beleaguered Juventus coach Luigi Delneri breathed a sigh of relief as his team beat Cagliari 3-1 in Italy's Serie A on Saturday, ending a run of three straight defeats.

    Former Cagliari player Alessandro Matri was the hero for Juventus – and the villain for his former side – as he struck in each half to ensure victory, less than a week after the striker left the Sardinian club on the final day of the transfer window.

    In between Matri's goals, Robert Acquafresca equalised for Cagliari. Under pressure, Juventus striker Luca Toni headed powerfully from the edge of the area to seal the victory with four minutes remaining.

    Chances
     
    Matri squandered an early chance to score when Cagliari 'keeper Michael Agazzi raced off his line to block the shot after Claudio Marchisio put him through on goal.

    Agazzi then tipped Alberto Aquilani's volley away for a corner.

    Matri scored the opener when Milos Krasic played him in behind Cagliari's defence and he hit a low drive past Agazzi.

    Radja Nainggolan wasted a chance to pull the hosts level. He failed to reach the ball with the goal at his mercy after Gianluigi Buffon missed Andrea Cossu's free kick.

    In the second half Cossu set up Cagliari's equaliser. He picked out Acquafresca at the far post and the striker volleyed it past Buffon.

    Cossu nearly created a second five minutes later, but Daniele Conti volleyed his free kick wide from close range.

    Results & fixtures

    Saturday February 5

     Udinese 2-0 Sampdoria
     Cagliari 1-3 Juventus

    Sunday February 6

     Bologna v Catania
     Brescia v Bari
     Genoa v AC Milan
     Lazio v Chievo
     Lecce v Palermo
     Napoli v Cesena
     Parma v Fiorentina
     Inter Milan v Roma

    Matri punished his former teammates for such profligacy when he hit a volley past Agazzi from a cross by Giorgio Chiellini. Toni then completed the scoring, when he guided Alessandro Del Piero's cross past Agazzi for his 100th goal in the Serie A.

    "This goal means a lot of things to me,'' Toni said.

    "Lots of people say I am finished, but here I am and I have a large desire to carry on and keep scoring goals for a club like Juventus.''

    Udinese progress

    Udinese continued their bid for a European Champions League finish as they beat Sampdoria 2-0 to move to within a point of the top four.

    It was their fifth win, alongside two draws, since the turn of the year and only Inter Milan have gained more points than them in 2011.

    Striker Antonio Di Natale reached 100 league goals for the club as he notched the second following Alexis Sanchez's opener.

    "I've been waiting two weeks for that," said Di Natale.

    "We're safe (having reached 40 points) now so we need to get as many points as possible and then see where we are."

    For Sampdoria it was a fourth straight defeat in all competitions as the club continues to slide following the departure of strike-pair Antonio Cassano and Giampaolo Pazzini to AC Milan and Inter respectively. 

    SOURCE: Agencies


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