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Serie A

  • 7 April 2012
  • • 22:00
  • • Stadio Renzo Barbera, Palermo
  • Referee: C. Brighi
  • • Attendance: 20000

Palermo 0-2 Juventus: Bonucci and Quagliarella send dominant Bianconeri back to the top of Serie A

Two second-half goals saw the Bianconeri emerge from Sicily with victory and a one-point lead in first place, leaving the Rossoneri to chase in the race for the Scudetto

Juventus have returned to the Serie A summit following a 2-0 win over Palermo at the Stadio Renzo Barbera on Saturday evening, sending them one point clear at the top of the table.

After dominating the first half with no tangible reward, Juve were able to finally break Palermo's resistance 12 minutes after the restart through a headed goal by Leonardo Bonucci. Fabio Quagliarella then sealed the victory with 20 minutes to go to hand the Bianconeri the advantage in the title race, and stretch their unbeaten league run to 31 games.

AC Milan’s shock 2-1 loss at home to Fiorentina in the earlier kick-off had left the door open for Antonio Conte's men, who were presented with the chance to overturn a two-point deficit to the Rossoneri with a win against Bortolo Mutti’s side. And Juventus seemed determined to make the most of Milan’s slip-up, dominating play right from the start of the match.

Mirko Vucinic came within inches of turning home a Quagliarella cross, before the Italian striker himself sliced wide after being put clean through with only the keeper to beat.

Juve were running Palermo ragged, but their wastefulness told, as they were unable to take one of the many chances that fell their way. A mix-up between Ezequiel Munoz and Emiliano Viviano left Vucinic with an open goal, but the Montenegrin could not find the target from an acute angle.

Martin Caceres was next to try his luck, after a surging run into the box left him with space to shoot, but his finish was woeful and bounced out of play off the top of his boot.

Palermo were nowhere to be found, despite the cutting edge of Conte’s men tailing off slightly as the half wore on. Andrea Pirlo tested Viviano with a pair of efforts from range as the visitors continued to search for a breakthrough.

Arturo Vidal sent a shot straight into Viviano’s arms from the edge of the box in the 50th minute with Juve looking to make headway coming out of the break.

They would finally get their breakthrough five minutes later, after Pirlo’s corner was glanced into the far corner by Bonucci to give Juventus a priceless lead.

Palermo continued to show precious little in the attacking third, as Conte’s men continued to control possession inside their half. Vucinic cut in from the left to sting the palms of Viviano with a drive from distance as the game crossed the hour mark.

Fabrizio Miccoli caused Juve hearts to flutter as he beat Giorgio Chiellini brilliantly towards the right byeline, but his drilled centre across the face of goal was just too strong for Josip Ilicic to reach.

And barely a minute later, Juventus went 2-0 in front. Substitute Alessandro Matri held the ball up well on the edge of the box, before teeing up Quagliarella for a cool finish into the far corner to give the visitors a two-goal cushion.

Viviano then had to be alert to tip over a dangerous cross by Pirlo in the 77th minute, with Caceres lurking at the far post.

The Palermo keeper was called into action once more to deny Alessandro Del Piero with his legs from close range, but by that point, the Old Lady already had the result in the bag.

Juventus now lead Milan by a single point at the top of the Serie A table with only seven games remaining of the season. Palermo remain in 11th place, with their outside hopes of European football all but extinguished.