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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Sports

Lega Calcio

Napoli, Lazio held

Juventus reinforced their Serie A title defence thanks to a 4-0 win over Udinese as the Serie A champions opened up a five-point gap on title rivals Lazio and Napoli.

Napoli and Lazio went into their weekend's fixtures, respectively against Fiorentina and Palermo, trailing Juventus by three points.

However, Lazio were lucky to emerge with a share of the points thanks to an 84th minute penalty from Hernanes in a 2-2 draw at Palermo, while Napoli had Edinson Cavani to thank for their leveller in a 1-1 draw at Fiorentina.

In Sunday's late match, Roma were held to a 1-1 draw by Inter Milan at the Olympic Stadium to leave Inter fourth, but now nine points shy of the league leaders.

Juve started their 21st match of the league campaign missing key players including midfielders Andrea Pirlo and Claudio Marchisio.

However French teenager Paul Pogba stepped up to the plate to score a sensational brace and inspire his side to a 4-0 rout which has boosted their goal of a 29th league title.

Pogba, signed in the off-season on a free transfer from Manchester United, had already scored two sensational goals earlier this season.

And the 19-year-old broke the deadlock near the end of a frustrating first half for the hosts by unleashing a 30-metre screamer which hit the crossbar before beating Daniele Padelli in the Udinese goal.

Antonio Conte's side were struggling to build on their lead in the early stages of the second half when Udinese were unlucky not to score on the counter.

But again Pogba came to the rescue, this time with a long-range daisy-cutter which slotted into Padelli's bottom corner to give Juve a 2-0 lead.

"It's the best night of my career," said Pogba, sporting a blond-tinted crest on his traditional Mohican-style haircut.

"Conte always tells me to try my luck from range, but I never thought I'd score two goals like that."

Six minutes later Juve striker Mirko Vucinic made it 3-0 when Padelli parried the Montenegrin's innocuous close-range effort over his own body and into the net.

And with 10 minutes to play, second-half substitute Alessandro Matri made it 4-0 when he latched on to a Vucinic through ball to nutmeg the onrushing Padelli.

Despite his side missing a number of key players, including Antonio Cassano, Diego Milito and Walter Samuel, Inter coach Andrea Stramaccioni had hoped to strut his stuff at Roma, where he was once employed as youth academy coach.

However Inter were left to play catch-up when Roma were awarded a controversial penalty after American midfielder Michael Bradley came down softly under a challenge from Andrea Ranocchia.

Francesco Totti stepped up to give the hosts a 22nd minute lead and score his first home league goal against Inter since October 2004.

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