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Serie A

  • 21 January 2012
  • • 19:45
  • • Stadio Atleti Azzurri d'Italia, Bergamo
  • Referee: D. Celi
  • • Attendance: 21000
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Atalanta 0-2 Juventus: Lichtsteiner and Giaccherini crown Conte's men as winter champions

The Bianconeri dominated the contest in Bergamo, and are assured first place at the halfway stage of the season thanks their four-point lead at the top

Juventus overcame Atalanta 2-0 at the Stadio Atleti Azzurri d'Italia to clinch the unofficial title of Serie A winter champions.

After a slew of first-half chances went begging, Stephan Lichtsteiner belatedly headed the visitors in front 10 minutes after the restart. Substitute Emanuele Giaccherini volleyed home a well-taken second with eight minutes to go to claim victory for Juventus, who provisionally move four points ahead of nearest rivals AC Milan.

Juventus attacked straight from kick-off, and nearly took the lead after only three minutes of play, but Alessandro Matri wasted a glorious chance, sidefooting Simone Pepe’s low cross over the bar from only a few yards out.

The visitors were taking the game to Atalanta in the early stages, and Pepe flashed an effort wide of the far post after latching onto Claudio Marchisio’s through ball.

Matri went even closer two minutes later, hitting the post from inside the area, before Mirko Vucinic coaxed a stunning save from Andrea Consigli with a powerful shot towards the top corner.

Atalanta managed to recover from the frantic start to gain a foothold in the game, but Juventus continued to create chances and always looked the more likely to break the deadlock.

Pepe took matters into his own hands with a barnstorming run from midfield five minutes before the break, but his shot at the end was beaten away by Consigli.

Barely a minute later, Arturo Vidal unleashed a fearsome drive from all of 30 yards that beat Consigli but smacked off the crossbar. Somehow, Atalanta had managed to make it to half-time with the score still goalless.

However, their luck would not hold for long in the second half, and a sublime pass by Andrea Pirlo completely unhinged the Atalanta defence, allowing Lichtsteiner to steal in at the far post and head the visitors in front.

Matri fashioned a great chance for himself shortly after the hour mark when he won possession in the opposition half and sprinted through on goal, but his finish deserted him once again as his lob attempt bounced just wide of the far post.

Juventus were comfortable at this point, and substitute Luca Marrone had a shot saved at the near post by Consigli after a neat one-two with Matri.

With eight minutes left, Juventus put the icing on the cake when Marrone’s delightful chipped ball was caught on the volley by fellow substitute Giaccherini to put the match beyond doubt.

The result sees Juventus move four points clear at the top, but that lead could be cut after Milan’s fixture against Novara on Sunday. Atalanta meanwhile remain in 15th place, five points off the relegation zone.

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