Champions Juventus, Roma, Napoli on target in Serie A

Updated: 12 January 2014 23:32 IST

Juventus achieved a club record of 11 successive wins with Fernando Llorente netting twice in a 4-1 win at Cagliari.


Juventus, Roma and Napoli hit 11 goals between them to deliver a blow to pursuers Fiorentina and Verona in Italy's Serie A on Sunday.

Juventus had been looking for a club record of 11 successive wins and despite conceding a 21st minute opener to Mauricio Pinilla the champions fought back in clinical fashion with Fernando Llorente (in pic) netting twice in a 4-1 win at Cagliari.

Conte said he was "proud" to become the first Juve coach to reach the milestone, but added to Sky Sport Italia: "I thanked all of the team for helping us reach this milestone but we have to try and extend this streak or another side will try to overtake us."

Roma began the day eight points behind leaders Juve but had little trouble dispatching Genoa, who were reduced to 10 men before the hour, 4-0.

Alessandro Florenzi led the rout with a sublime overhead kick, with further goals coming courtesy of club captain Francesco Totti, Maicon and Mehdi Benatia.

Totti, hitting his first goal in nine months, hailed Juve's campaign but said the title race was not over.

"Juventus are the reigning champions and they're almost a class apart, but we have a strong side that won't quit. Until the very end, we will be giving them a hard time," Totti told Sky Sport Italia.

Napoli were two points further adrift but despite a potentially tricky fixture returned from high-flying Verona with a precious 3-0 win.

Napoli coach Rafael Benitez suggested the scoreline flattered his side, which is still missing Marek Hamsik, Juan Zuniga and goalkeeper Pepe Reina among others, due to injury.

"It was a difficult game but we showed that we are a strong team," said the Spaniard, admitting their next major aim comes at home to Roma, on March 9.

"The home game against Roma is our next major objective but we have our own path set out and we'll see where it takes us."

Juventus have been in fine form since a 4-2 defeat at Fiorentina at the end of October and, now with 52 points at the halfway stage, expectations that Antonio Conte's men can become the first side to break the 100-point barrier will only intensify.

Pinilla opened the scoring for Cagliari when he was left unmarked to slot past Gianluigi Buffon when a corner was headed beyond most of Juve's defence.

But Llorente rose above the Cagliari defence to send a header past Antonio Adan at his far top right-hand corner and Claudio Marchisio gave the visitors a 2-1 lead with a fine strike in the 73rd minute.

Cagliari's defence was made to look amateurish only two minutes later, Llorente stroking Lichsteiner's pass across goal into a virtually empty net, and the Swiss wing-back grabbing a goal of his own four minutes later.

At Rome's Olympic Stadium Florenzi opened the scoring in spectacular fashion, sending an overhead kick past Mattia Perin as the ball rebounded from Totti's freekick.

Totti's maiden goal of the season from Gervinho's cutback was helped by a deflection from Thomas Manfredini, although goals from Maicon, before half-time, and Benatia shortly after the restart put the match beyond all reach.

Genoa's woes deepened on the hour mark when Francesco Matuzalem saw red for a second bookable offence.

Verona have been one of the few surprise packages this season but conceded by the 27th minute when Belgian international Dries Mertens turned inside the area and sent a curling snap shot past Rafael at the keeper's far post.

Further Goals from Lorenzo Insigne and Blerim Dzemaili wrapped up the points for the Pertenopei.

In Sunday's late match Milan travel to struggling Sassuolo looking for the three points that will see the Rossoneri jump three places to eighth.

City rivals Inter host Chievo on Monday when a win will see Walter Mazzarri's men reclaim fifth place from Verona and close the gap on Fiorentina, held to a scoreless draw at Torino, to three points.

Topics : Football
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