Carlos Tevez continued his fine form with his 24th goal of the season as Juventus beat Genoa to go 17 points clear at the top of Serie A. Tevez, 31, scored twice in Juve’s Champions League win in Dortmund in midweek and was the key man again. The former Manchester City forward broke the deadlock by weaving into the penalty area and firing in off the underside of the crossbar. He also had a second-half penalty saved but Juve held on to win comfortably. Juve were without influential midfielder Paul Pogba – starting a two-month injury lay-off – but still had enough to see off Genoa. Tevez’s brilliant individual goal put them on course for a 20th league win of the season and Massimiliano Allegri’s side look set for a fourth title in a row. Allegri made just a few changes to the side which had defeated Borussia Dortmund in midweek, giving Simone Padoin and Fernando Llorente a start while taking a closer look at a three-man defence including Andrea Barzagli. Any thoughts the Bianconeri might be tired or not focused after Wednesday’s thrilling win in Germany were soon dismissed as they attacked like in any other game.
It was the Rossoblu who were presented with the first opportunity of the match in the second minute as centre-forward Ma baye Niang latched onto a loose ball from defender Leonardo Bonucci but curled his shot wide of the goal. The home side, after their European exertion at Dortmund in midweek, looked a bit tired every now and then and on had their first attempt on 11 minutes through Chilean Arturo Vidal whose ambitious volley went way off target. A few minutes later, they looked to threaten from a set piece as centre-back Giorgio Chiellini headed over the bar. Meanwhile, Genoaa s Diego Perotti was booked for diving following an incident that saw him appeal for a penalty after having been allegedly fouled by Claudio Marchisio inside the box. And despite some early failings, the Old Lady took the lead in the 25th minute, that saw Argentinean Carlos Tevez beat a couple of defenders on the right flank before unleashing a fierce drive from a tight angle into the top of the net. Gian Piero Gasperinia s men were pushed on the back foot momentarily and Juventus full-back Stephan Lichtsteiner then tried his luck on the half volley, sending it over the cross bar. However, the Grifone did get a couple of chances before the break. Perotti side footed a weak shot that was comfortably dealt with by Gianlugi Buffon and 22-year-old Maxime Lestienne then tried his luck from over 30 yards. And right at the stroke of half-time, drama unfolded as Fernando Llorentea s header was saved by Genoa goalkeeper Mattia Perin and the rebound was sent towards goal by Tevez, only for it to deflect off Andrea Bertolaccia s extending arm and find Chiellinia s feet, who managed to rattle the crossbar.
The second half began with Perin being subbed off early on, on account of the injury he suffered at half-time. Then following some good build-up play, Roberto Pereyra fluffed a left-footed volley towards the stands. 24-year-old Pereyra was yet again involved in the mix of things as he was fouled inside the box by Rossoblu defender Facundo Roncaglia, leading to a penalty at the hour mark. However, substitute goalkeeper Eugenio Lamanna stunned the entire Juventus Stadium as he saved the subsequent penalty from Tevez, denying his second goal of the day. Still wanting that crucial second goal, Tevez played his centre-forward partner Llorente through on goal, but the Spaniarda s effort was blocked by Juraj Kucka. With 15 minutes remaining, Juventus substitute Alessandro Matri got his chance to put the game to bed, but his header was sent straight to goalkeeper Lamanna. Five minutes later, Bianconeri defender Andrea Barzagli pulled off a brilliant last ditch tackle on 26-year-old Perotti, who was a regular tap-in away from scoring the equalizer following an excellent cross from Roncaglia. Genoa could not create any more chances after that and the game ended with Juventus finishing off on a high note, dominating possession and looking threatening as ever.
Roma, currently on a dismal run of form in second place, can close that substantial gap when they face Cesena on Sunday. Juventus strengthened their grasp on a fourth straight Serie A title thanks to this narrow win over Genoa which confirmed the Bianconeri are also able to juggle their league and European commitments. Their advantage at the top of the table is now such that they can plan on wrapping the title up even before the semi-finals stage of the Champions League, which they will hope to be involved in by beating Monaco in the quarter-finals.