Juventus 2-0 Novara: Pepe and Quagliarella on target to send Turin giants back to Serie A summit

The hosts went straight back to the summit of Serie A with a comfortable victory over their relegation-threatened visitors thanks to goals in each half of the match
Juventus defeated Novara 2-0 in Turin on Sunday afternoon as goals from Simone Pepe and Fabio Quagliarella ensured the hosts regained top spot in Serie A, in what was a dominant but wasteful display.

Juventus took an early lead when Pepe was on hand to finish Paulo De Ceglie's low cross in the third minute, but from there on the hosts wasted numerous opportunities, before Quagliarella netted his first goal in almost a year in Serie A to ensure his side go into Wednesday's clash with Udinese top of the league and unbeaten.

The match started at a frantic pace, with the hosts almost taking the lead inside two minutes. Quagliarella’s well-timed cut back found Claudio Marchisio on the right side of the area, but the Italy international’s first-time effort flew straight at Samir Ujkani.

Moments later, though, the hosts got their goal. De Ceglie’s low cross went straight across the area, leaving the onrushing Pepe with a simple finish to put his side in the driving seat.

With a quarter of an hour gone a great chipped ball from Marchisio fell to Emanuele Giaccherini, but the former Cesena midfielder’s tame shot was easily held by Ujkani.

Just over half an hour in, the home side came close to doubling their lead when Giaccherini’s neat through ball found Alessandro Del Piero on the left side of the box, but the captain's curling strike sailed just past the post.

Invincibles | Quagliarella's strike ensured the hosts remain unbeaten

The second half began with the Antonio Conte’s side still controlling the game, and in the 46th minute they almost doubled their lead when Pepe burst down the right wing before playing in Del Piero with a perfectly weighted pass, but again his curling effort went just wide.

With 65 minutes gone and against the run of play, the visitors almost pulled back on level terms when another fine cross from Morganella found Raffaele Rubino in the centre of the area, but Buffon pulled off a magnificent save to deny the former Perugia striker's low header.

On the 74th minute Juventus finally doubled their lead, when a great corner from the impressive Pepe was met by Quagliarella, whose powerful header flew straight in the top corner to hand the former Napoli forward his first goal of the season.

With just over five minutes to go the hosts almost got a third, when substitute Alessandro Matri played in Marchisio, but the forward's long range strike was cleared off the line by Massimo Paci.

This result sees Juventus regain top spot in Serie A, and the league leaders now face a difficult trip to Scudetto rivals Udinese on Wednesday evening, while Novara welcome Palermo on the same night.

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