Juve edge closer to Serie A title

Italian leaders remain on course for first league crown in nine seasons after crushing relegation-threatened Novara.

    Juventus remain three points clear of defending champions AC Milan with three games remaining [GETTY]

    Undefeated Juventus moved a step closer to the Italian league title with a 4-0 rout at neighbours Novara on Sunday.

    Mirko Vucinic scored twice for Juventus, Marco Borriello hit the target for the second straight match and Arturo Vidal also found the net - with UEFA president and former Juventus star Michel Platini looking on.

    "The squad is focused and determined, and I'm very pleased,'' Juventus coach Antonio Conte said following his side's eighth consecutive win.

    "Let's not forget that (four) days ago Novara beat Lazio, who are fighting for a Champions League spot.''

    Juventus are unbeaten in all 35 league matches this season, plus their four Italian Cup matches - they face Napoli in the May 20 final.

    With three rounds remaining in Serie A, Juventus remain three points ahead of defending champions AC Milan, who won 4-1 at Siena with two goals from Zlatan Ibrahimovic, plus one each from Antonio Cassano and Antonio Nocerino.

    For Cassano, it was his first goal since undergoing minor heart surgery in November, while Ibrahimovic leads Serie A with 26 goals.

    "It was important to win today, stay near Juve and hope that they slip up somewhere, although that seems difficult,'' Milan manager Massimiliano Allegri said.

    European battle

    Elsewhere, Inter Milan and Udinese both won to create a four-way tie with Lazio and Napoli for third place and the final Champions League berth.

    Inter rallied to a 2-1 win over already relegated Cesena, with Joel Obi and Mauro Zarate replying to Luca Ceccarelli's goal.

    Udinese beat visiting Lazio 2-0 with a 69th-minute strike from Antonio Di Natale, a volley from the edge of the box, and a bizarre 90th-minute goal from Roberto Pereya, who scored into an empty net after Lazio goalkeeper Federico Marchetti had dropped to the ground, mistakenly thinking he had heard the final whistle.

    Also, Atalanta beat Fiorentina 2-1 with goals from German Denis and Giacomo Bonaventura, while Fiorentina's Stevan Jovetic missed a penalty; and Parma won 2-1 at Lecce to leave the southern club in the relegation zone.

    Lecce remained third from bottom, one point behind Genoa, who lost 3-2 at Bologna in the lunchtime fixture.

    It was Genoa's third straight loss to stretch the club's winless streak to 13 games.

    Last week, Genoa's 4-1 loss to Siena was interrupted for 45 minutes by protesting fans, after which Alberto Malesani was fired in favour of Luigi De Canio.



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