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Football
Unbeaten Juve on top in Italy
Turin giants ease to a comfortable home win over Catania claiming first place in Italy's Serie A.
Last Modified: 18 Feb 2012 22:09
Juve came from behind to beat 10-man Catania and top the Italian league - for now [GETTY]

Juventus hit back to beat 10-man Catania 3-1 in Turin on Saturday and move back to the top of Italy’s Serie A ahead of AC Milan's trip to Cesena on Sunday.

Pablo Barrientos gave the Sicilians, who had Marco Motta dismissed in the second half, a shock early lead but goals from Andrea Pirlo, Giorgio Chiellini and Fabio Quagliarella secured the three points.

Juve now lead Milan by two points having played the same number of games.

The win ended a run a two straight 0-0 draws for Antonio Conte's men.

Action-packed

The first half was an action-filled and entertaining affair starting with an early header from Juve's Claudio Marchisio that went just over.

Catania then gave their hosts two warning signs as Mariano Izco broke from deep only to shoot straight at Gianluigi Buffon before Sergio Almiron gave the veteran shot-stopper great problems with a swerving long-distance effort.

Juve did not heed the warnings, though, and on four minutes Barrientos turned Pirlo with effortless ease before curling a delightful left-footer around Buffon from 20 yards.

Juve came firing back but Marco Borriello's downward header was easy for Tomas Kosicky in the visiting goal.

The equaliser came on 22 minutes as Pirlo curled a free-kick around a badly placed wall to leave Kosicky motionless on his line.

Quagliarella hit a rocket from distance that crashed back off the bar.

At the other end Gonzalo Bergessio played a one-two with Francesco Lodi and crash his own shot off the woodwork from a tight angle.

Kosicky saved a daisy-cutter from Pirlo with Quagliarella shooting the rebound into the side-netting.

And the former Italy forward hit the side-netting again after Borriello teed him up in the box with a cushioned header.

Juve kept on pushing at the start of the second period with Borriello and Quagliarella seeing shots blocked while Pirlo whipped a free-kick from distance just over the crossbar.

Seeing red

The game turned when Motta, playing against his former employers, stupidly picked up a second yellow card for a senseless foul near the halfway line 25 minutes from time.

Catania almost went ahead on the counter attack but Buffon blocked Almiron's fierce low drive.

Then 14 minutes from time Kosicky failed to gather Pirlo's free-kick from the right and Chiellini headed home, although he appeared to be leaning on Bergessio.

Kosicky paid for another error nine minutes from time as his scuffed clearance fell to Pirlo who played in Quagliarella to beat the goalkeeper.

Somewhat comically, reserve goalkeeper Marco Storari managed to draw blood from both Quagliarella and Simone Pepe with his over-zealous celebrations.

On Friday Inter Milan lost for the fifth time in six matches - the other being a draw - as they were humiliated 3-0 at home to lowly Bologna.

Napoli leap-frogged Inter into fifth with a 3-0 win at Fiorentina courtesy of an Edinson Cavani brace and one from Ezequiel Lavezzi.

Source:
AFP
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