Juventus took a big step towards their fourth straight Serie A title with a 2-0 win over second-placed Lazio which stretched their lead at the top to 15 points. It also gave them a boost for the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final against Monaco, where the Italian side lead 1-0 from the first game. The Aquile had won eight on the bounce and leapt into second place, so another victory would take them within nine points of the leaders. It was also a precursor to the Coppa Italia Final on June 7. Stefan de Vrij, Marco Parolo, Stefan Radu, Filip Djordjevic, Santiago Gentiletti and the suspended Pedro Luis Cavanda and Diego Novaretti missed out, while Federico Marchetti started despite fracturing his nose. Juve missed Paul Pogba, Kwadwo Asamoah, Romulo, Martin Caceres and banned Angelo Ogbonna.
Having overtaken neighbours AS Roma by moving into second place last weekend, Lazio travelled to Turin on Saturday evening hoping to continue their surge up the Serie A table. But faced with the only team to have scored more goals than theBianconeri this term, Massimiliano Allegri told reporters at his pre-match press conference on Friday that the side from Italya s capital would represent a tough challenge to them. Lazioa s impact made it impossible for Allegri to rest too many players despite facing a Champions League quarter-final second leg against AS Monaco on Wednesday. The coach named a very strong lineup, opting to bench only Alvaro Morata, Roberto Pereyra and Stephan Lichtsteiner from the XI that beat the Ligue 1 side 1-0 last week. Andrea Barzagli, Simone Padoin and Alessandro Matri came in to replace that trio, the Bianconeri switching to a 3-5-2 formation in order to curtail the attacking threat of Lazio.
Lazio were the side who took the initiative first as they started the match confidently, with captain Stefano Mauri bursting into the area only to be stopped by Giorgio Chiellini after only two minutes. The visitors applied further pressure, forcing Gianluigi Buffon to fluff his lines but ultimately managing to defend his goal. Juventus then looked to get off the mark, as midfielder Claudio Marchisio tried a stinging shot from far out; though it skimmed across the grass resulting in an easy save for Federicho Marchetti. The Biancocelesti continued to force Juventus within their own half as they maintained their high pressing, winning a free-kick from a dangerous range after French defender Patrice Evra unintentionally handled the ball; though the set piece was eventually hit too high by Mauri. Thereon the home side took control of the game, as they began to regain ground and almost immediately after Arturo Vidal managed to flick the ball onto Carlos Tevez who latched onto the pass and steamed past Lazioa s defence, slotting a tidy finish into the far corner. Miroslav Klose promptly looked to reply to the goal with a chance of his own, but the German veteran managed to horribly scuff his shot from close range. Deficiency in front of goal for Lazio consequently cost them as they were once again hit on the counter to concede the second goal of the game. Centre-back Bonucci picked up the ball from within his own half before surging forward untouched by the Aquile midfield, Tevez made a deceptive run clearing space for the 27-year-old Italian to hit a sublime shot, which he buried beneath Marchetti from the top of the box. The Bianconeri then had a chance to finish off the game on the stroke of half-time as Padoin sent in a gorgeous cross only to be headed a whisker wide of the post by Evra.
Antonio Candreva came on after the restart, sending Senad Lulic to left-back. It seemed to work, as they notched up a series of corners with Candreva shots and crosses charged down, pinning the hosts back into their own half. Claudio Marchisio was booked for a dreadful tackle on Lulic and will be suspended for next weeka s Turin Derby. Chiellinia s handling offence blocked a Candreva through ball right on the edge of the box, from which the midfielder unleashed a rocket of a free kick that Buffon fingertipped against the bar. It was raining heavily and Lucas Biglia tried to take advantage, his piledriver from 25 meters punched bizarrely by Buffon to bounce off the ground. Alvaro Morata brilliantly turned Basta only for his pull-back to be intercepted for a corner and Buffon stopped Candrevaa s swerving cross from reaching Klose. It got even worse for Lazio, as in the final minute 20-year-old Danilo Cataldi received a straight red card for a tackle from behind as Tevez was breaking away on the counter. Felipe Anderson almost got a consolation goal, his volley desperately parried by Buffon’s feet in a one-on-one situation. The run of eight consecutive victories came crashing to a halt, as another statistic was confirmed instead. Lazio have not won any of their last 21 Serie A meetings with Juve, home and away, managing just six draws.
Juventus and Lazio are also set to face each other in the Italian Cup final in June.