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Serie A

  • November 26, 2011
  • • 19:45
  • • Stadio Olimpico, Roma
  • Referee: G. Rocchi
  • • Attendance: 57148

Lazio 0-1 Juventus: Simone Pepe fires Turin giants back to the top of Serie A

The Italy International's first half strike was enough to see off the hosts in the top of the table clash, as the Old Lady returned to the summit of Serie A

Juventus defeated Lazio 1-0 in a thrilling encounter at the Stadio Olimpico on Saturday evening, as Simone Pepe's 34th minute goal ensured Antonio Conte's men leapfrog Udinese to retake top spot in Serie A.

The game began as a real end to end encounter, with both sides getting forward at every opportunity, but it wasn’t until the eighth minute that an attempt on goal was registered. A poor pass from Arturo Vidal fell to Hernanes, but the Brazilian's long distance drive flew over the bar.

Minutes later, the away side went close to taking the lead after a great run and cross from Stephan Lichtsteiner was met by Claudio Marchisio, but the Italy international’s powerful header went just wide.

Just before the 20 minute mark, the visitors again came close to going in front, Federico Marchetti produced an outstanding save to deny Andrea Pirlo’s free-kick before Lichtsteiner missed a glorious opportunity from the rebound, dragging his effort wide.

The hosts were now starting to get into the game and were unlucky not to be ahead when Tommaso Rocchi found himself in space just inside the box and managed to lift the ball over the on rushing Gianluigi Buffon, but the captain’s effort was blocked by Andrea Barzagli.

Juventus finally found the breakthrough on 34 minutes through Pepe. A swift counter attacking move from the visitors led to Alessandro Matri finding himself in space on the left flank, before his inch perfect cross fell to the former Udinese winger to slot past Marchetti into the bottom corner.

The game started to slow down after Pepe’s opener, ensuring the visitors took a one-goal lead into the break.

The second half began with the visitors controlling the game and they could have doubled their lead a minute after the restart, but Matri’s shot on the turn sailed just over the Lazio goal.

The hosts then started to impose themselves on the game, with Hernanes looking particularly dangerous. He had a great chance to level the game in the 51st minute but his effort was denied by an excellent block from Barzagli.

Edy Reja's side continued to press forward and came close to equalising twice in the space of a minute. First Hernanes struck the post with a powerful drive, before Buffon pulled off a great save to deny Mirolsav Klose’s curling effort from the edge of the box.

With 20 minutes to go, Juventus almost doubled their advantage, when a great ball from Pepe found substitute Emanuele Giaccherini, but the former Cesena winger's drive was parried away by Marchetti.

With just over five minutes to go, the Old Lady spurned another chance to kill the game off, a great ball from Marchisio found Matri just outside the box, who created some space for himself with a neat turn before unleashing a powerful strike which struck the outside of the post.

Juventus managed to hang on to their slender lead to pick up a vital three points, despite some late pressure from the hosts, to regain the top spot in Serie A. The league leaders now face another tough away fixture as they travel to Napoli on Tuesday, while third placed Lazio will hope to return to winning ways at home to Novara next weekend.