Juventus cruise to victory

Defending Italian champions make light work of 10-man Lazio in 4-1 victory as Napoli beat Chievo Verona in Serie A.

    Juventus cruise to victory
    Lazio were looking to avenge their SuperCup loss to Juventus, but were overpowered by the Turin giants [AFP]

    Juventus cruised to a 4-1 victory over 10-man Lazio in Italy’s Serie A on Saturday as the capital club fell to another hefty defeat at the hands of the defending champions.

    Lazio were looking to avenge their 4-0 Super Cup loss to Juventus two weeks ago, but two world-class finishes from Arturo Vidal sent Juventus on their way to another victory.

    Miroslav Klose reduced the deficit with his first goal against Juventus but Mirko Vucinic restored the home side's two-goal advantage shortly after halftime.

    Lazio were forced to play nearly half an hour with 10 men after Hernanes was sent off for a second yellow card. And Carlos Tevez - who had earlier hit the crossbar - scored his third goal in as many games.

    Earlier, last year's runner-up Napoli beat Chievo Verona 4-2 in another entertaining game.

    Ominous form

    Both Napoli and Juventus have won their opening two matches but this was a lot more convincing a result from Antonio Conte's team than last week's narrow 1-0 win over Sampdoria and will serve as a warning sign of just how difficult it will be to prevent Juve from claiming a third successive league title.

    Results & fixtures

    Saturday 31 August

    Chievo 2-4 Napoli 4
    Juventus 4-1 Lazio

    Sunday 1 September

    Roma v Verona
    AC Milan v Cagliari
    Atalanta v Torino
    Bologna v Sampdoria
    Catania v Inter Milan
    Genoa v Fiorentina
    Sassuolo v Livorno
    Udinese v Parma

    Juventus took the lead in the 14th minute, with Vidal controlling a lovely chipped pass from Paul Pogba and slotting the ball home.

    The Chilean doubled his tally in the 26th, beating the offside trap again to latch on to Leonardo Bonucci's delightful ball over the defence and fire into the bottom left corner.

    Klose immediately got Lazio back into the game. Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon failed to hold on to Hernanes' powerful 30-metre effort and the Germany striker was on hand to follow up.

    Juventus extended their lead after the break thanks to another wonderful Bonucci assist. The Italy defender lifted the ball from his own half into the area for Vucinic to finish past Federico Marchetti.

    Hernanes was needlessly sent off in the 63rd minute after he was shown a second yellow card for batting the ball down with his hand in the penalty area.

    Tevez curled a 20-metre effort off the bar in the 72nd minute before scoring a first home goal. The Argentine feinted round his marker before driving into the bottom left corner from just outside the penalty area.

    Perfect start

    The early match in Serie A was just as eventful as Gonzalo Higuain scored his first Serie A goal to help Napoli maintain their perfect start under Rafa Benitez.

    Higuain started despite having had eight stitches in his face after injuring himself by diving off a boat onto a rock on Monday.

    Napoli had lost their past three matches at the Staido Bentegodi without scoring a goal but took the lead in the 13th minute with Marek Hamsik firing Lorenzo Insigne's pass in off the right post from 20 metres.

    Chievo drew level in the 25th following a good cross from Perparim Hetemaj to find Alberto Paloschi, who - alone in front of goal - drove the ball under Napoli goalkeeper Pepe Reina.

    However, Jose Callejon restored Napoli's advantage almost immediately, firing Higuain's low pass in at the back post for his second goal in as many games since signing from Real Madrid.

    It was end-to-end football, and Chievo nearly equalised moments later when Paloschi pounced on a woeful Christian Maggio backpass and chipped Reina, but the ball rebounded off the post.

    Chievo were back on level terms five minutes from halftime as Paloschi scored his second of the game in a goalmouth scramble following a corner.

    Hamsik scored his fourth goal in two matches in the 64th minute, firing home a loose ball after Chievo goalkeeper Christian Puggioni stuck out a foot to prevent an own goal.

    Higuain - who joined from Real Madrid in a deal worth an estimated $53 million - sealed the result 20 minutes from time following some great work from Insigne. Higuain burst into the area and saw his initial effort saved by Puggioni but the Argentina striker fired in the rebound.



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