Juve beat title rivals Udinese

A brace from Alessandro Matri inspires Juventus to victory over Udinese and extends their Serie A lead to four points.

    Wintry conditions could not stop Juventus from powering past third-placed Udinese [GETTY]

    A brace from Alessandro Matri saw Juventus do their hopes of winning the Italian title the power of good on Saturday, seeing off fellow high-riders Udinese 2-1 in Turin.

    The win preserved Juve's unbeaten league record and opened up a provisional four-point lead over AC Milan, who host Cagliari on Sunday in Serie A, while Udinese could see Inter Milan draw level with them if the Nerazzurri can win at Lecce.

    Juve moved onto 44 points from 20 games but were eternally grateful to Matri for his predatory instincts after Antonio Floro Flores had threatened to bag a point for the visitors.

    Super-sub

    Matri's winner just after the hour mark owed much to an inspired substitution by Juve coach Antonio Conte, who sent on Claudio Marchisio for ex-Udinese favourite Fabio Quagliarella.

    Results & fixtures

    Saturday January 28

    Catania 1-1 Parma
    Juventus 2-1 Udinese

    Sunday January 29

    Fiorentina v Siena
    Cesena v Atalanta
    Chievo v Lazio
    Genoa v Napoli
    Lecce v Inter Milan
    Palermo v Novara
    Roma v Bologna
    AC Milan v Cagliari

    Marchisio promptly diverted an Arturo Vidal cross right into Matri's path and the striker lashed the ball past visiting goalkeeper Samir Handanovic to clinch a crucial win.

    Matri had notched his opener from point-blank range after Handanovic had palmed out a near-post header from Quagliarella straight to the lurking forward three minutes before the interval.

    But substitute Floro Flores pilfered the equaliser 10 minutes after the restart, curling a neat right-footed effort beyond Gianluigi Buffon for his second goal of the season.

    Buoyed by that, Udinese fought in snowy conditions to take the game to their hosts, whom they held to a goalless draw earlier in the season.

    Colombian Pablo Armero fired in an early volley that Buffon did well to push away diving low to his right and 14-goal hot-shot Antonio Di Natale also went close from close range.

    Handanovic just managed to take the ball off the toes of the effervescent Matri mid-way through the opening half, while industrious Swiss Stephane Liechsteiner found himself in space on the half hour but dithered and, crowded out, saw the chance fade away before he could pick his spot.

    Earlier on Saturday, Catania and Parma shared a 1-1 draw that left both clubs in mid-table.

    SOURCE: AFP


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