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Football
Juventus extend unbeaten Serie A run
Two late goals from substitutes give the Italian champions victory over title challengers Napoli.
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2012 18:41
The top-of-the-table clash gave the Turin giants control of the Italian league and extended their unbeaten run to 47 matches [EPA]

Jose Caceres and French recruit Paul Pogba scored a goal apiece as champions Juventus pulled three points clear of closest challengers Napoli with a 2-0 win on Saturday.

Juventus and Napoli went into the top-of-the-table clash, billed as a battle between the poor south and rich north, as the only two unbeaten teams in the league after seven games.

But after a dominant first half by Juve in which Sebastian Giovinco and Napoli striker Edinson Cavani came close to opening the scoring, Juventus pounced in two second-half minutes to claim their seventh win in eight games.

Early attack

Giovinco gave the hosts hope of an early lead when he strolled into the area following a short corner to unleash a shot which Morgan De Sanctis did well to get low and collect in the first minute.

Juve went on to control the half as Walter Mazzarri's visitors, one of the most attacking teams in the league, seemed strangely set on a wait-and-see approach.

It left Cavani, who returned to Italy only early Friday from Uruguay after international duty in midweek, with few scoring chances in the first half.

Indeed the Uruguayan was most notable early on for picking up a largely unwarranted yellow card after 11 minutes after Juve defender Giorgio Chiellini ran into him.

Andrea Pirlo was at his best in midfield and proved a constant threat for Napoli at set-pieces.

A corner by the Italy midfielder was flicked on by the head of Arturo Vidal in the 20th minute but found no takers in the Napoli area.

Juve's pressing was limiting Napoli's chances, but moments later Cavani came close to a stunning opener.

When Juan Zuniga found Gokhan Inler with a pass on the left of the area the slightest of tugs from Vidal brought the Swiss midfielder down.

From the resultant free kick Cavani shook the post and the crossbar as Juve keeper Marco Storari could only look on.

Pressure

Juve, still pressing for the opener, came close on the stroke of half-time when Claudio Marchisio's shot from the edge of the area forced De Sanctis into action as it soared just over the crossbar.

Ghanaian midfielder Kwadwo Asamoah is proving to be one of Juve's best buys of the season and when he won a free kick just outside the area shortly after the restart Pirlo's free kick took a deflection but was saved low by De Sanctis.

At the other end Napoli were given a rare glimmer of hope after a nice exchange of passes between Marek Hamsik and Goran Pandev, but as Pandev teed up his shot an alert Marchisio came chasing back to block.

Giovinco then wasted his second scoring chance when he fumbled Asamoah's pass in the area and regained control but sent his shot a metre past De Sanctis' upright.

Juve stand-in coach Massimo Carrera then replaced striker Fabio Quagliarella with Alessandro Matri, but two further substitutions shortly after were to prove most fruitful.

Pogba came on for Vidal while Asamoah went off in place of Caceres and within minutes, Juve had taken a 2-0 lead.

With barely 10 minutes remaining Juve won a corner and Caceres got his head to Pirlo's cross to beat De Sanctis from close range.

Two minutes later a poor clearance from Napoli found Pogba over 20 metres out and the French teenager seized the day to send a superb strike past the diving De Sanctis.

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Source:
AFP
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