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Serie A

  • March 14, 2015
  • • 1:00 PM
  • • Stadio Renzo Barbera, Palermo
  • Referee: M. Guida
  • • Attendance: 29850

Palermo 0-1 Juventus: Super sub Morata lifts Juve

Juventus toiled for large parts of Saturday's contest at Palermo, but super sub Alvaro Morata ensured a 1-0 victory for the Serie A leader.

Alvaro Morata stepped off the bench to secure Juventus a hard-earned 1-0 Serie A victory at Palermo.

The league leader was far from its fluent best in Saturday's encounter at the Stadio Renzo Barbera, where Palermo has excelled this term.

But Morata struck in the 70th minute to hand Massimiliano Allegri's men all three points - stretching the champion's lead at the top of Serie A to 14 points over Roma, which plays Sampdoria on Monday.

Juve lacked its usual attacking fluency in a first half devoid of chances, with the suspended Paul Pogba a sore loss in midfield.

However, the visitor showed more attacking verve in the second half. Carlos Tevez saw a well-taken free kick saved before Morata's seventh Serie A goal of the season won the game.

Juve will now head to Borussia Dortmund seeking to make the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals for the second time in three seasons, with the Turin club protecting a 2-1 lead from the first leg.

Stephan Lichtsteiner fired the first shot in anger wide of the post in the 13th minute, before Tevez tried his luck from range. Palermo goalkeeper Stefano Sorrentino was left thankful that no Juve player followed in as he spilled the Argentine's effort.

Stefano Sturaro was handed a debut in the absence of Pogba and the 22-year-old was next to go close as he showed good feet to burst into the penalty area before his left-foot shot went wide.

A muted atmosphere reflected the flat nature of the match, although the home fans screamed for a penalty when Luca Rigoni ran into Giorgio Chiellini as the Italy man shepherded the ball out.

Allegri introduced Arturo Vidal for Sturaro at halftime in a bid to inject life into the midfield. Tevez almost provided the spark in the 52nd minute with a superb 25-yard free kick that drew a fine stop to his right from Sorrentino.

At the other end, Andrea Barzagli struggled to cope with the pace of Palermo danger man Paulo Dybala on his first start of the season. The Juve center back deservedly earned a yellow card with a cynical foul to stop the striker breaking free.

Morata was brought on the replace the disappointing Fernando Llorente on the hour mark. And the former Real Madrid man made the telling contribution 10 minutes later, toying with the Palermo defense before bending his shot into the corner from the edge of the penalty area.

Palermo pushed forward in search of an equalizer, but was consigned to a first defeat in 11 league home matches as Juve displayed typical title-winning grit.