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Serie A

  • January 28, 2012
  • • 19:45
  • • Juventus Stadium, Torino
  • Referee: P. Valeri
  • • Attendance: 39625

Juventus 2-1 Udinese: Matri double clinches points for Antonio Conte's side and stretches lead at Serie A summit to four points

Matri took the lead for the Serie A leaders despite substitute Floro Flores cancelling out the home side's first goal, however Juve answered in fashion and took all three points

Two goals from Alessandro Matri proved the difference as Juventus beat Udinese 2-1, sending the Old Lady four points clear at the top of Serie A on Saturday night.

Substitute Antonio Floro Flores cancelled out Matri’s first effort, yet the 27-year-old was at the double to ensure his side widened their gap to rivals AC Milan in a nail-biting thriller at the Juventus Stadium.

Antonio Conte’s men looked to continue their season-long unbeaten run, and made four changes to the team which cruised past Roma in the quarter-finals of the Coppa Italia on Tuesday.

The home side opted for a rare 3-5-2 formation, with Alessandro Matri and Fabio Quagliarella taking charge of the attack. Udinese made just a single change from the side which beat Catania 2-1 last weekend, with boss Francesco Guildolin deeming Giovanni Pasquale the correct choice at left-back.

Both teams kicked off with a spark, however the first chance came to Juventus after just two minutes. Arturo Vidal slotted a well-placed pass into midfielder Marclo Estigarribia’s path, forcing a good, firm save from keeper Samir Handanovic, leaving the Paraguay international with his head in his hands knowing he should have opened the scoring.

However, the Bianconeri soon found their feet going forward, putting pressure on Juventus through the flanks, as Almen Abdi received the ball on the edge of the area, striking a vicious shot through the defence for Gianluigi Buffon to fingertip away for a corner.

Udinese came close to taking the lead after Leonardo Bonucci headed the set-piece away from danger, only for Colombian Pablo Armero to catch on the volley and force yet another quality save from Buffon.

Play rallied back and forth with both sides creating chances going forward, yet it was Conte’s side who took the lead on the stroke of half-time. Quagliarella saw his header parried by Handanovic, only for Matri to answer his critics and score his eighth goal of the season from just two yards out.

Guildolin was the first of the coaches to make a change, replacing Abdi for Floro Flores.

It was The Old Lady who emerged from the break the more attacking side, yet Udinese caught the hosts on the counter and super-sub Floro Flores received the ball wide in the Juve box before curling a beautiful effort far past Buffon, marking his 23rd goal in 115 appearances for the Bianconeri.

Udinese’s lead was short-lived, though, as Conte’s men continued their second half attacking prowess, with substitute Claudio Marchisio providing an exquisite touch to guide Vidal’s cross into Matri, who turned his marker and produced a fine finish at the far post to defy Handanovic and put Juve back into the lead.

The visitors pushed for an equaliser, yet lacked the final touch as Di Natale failed to get a shot on target late into extra time.

Juventus' win sees them remain unbeaten so far this season, and edge clear of Milan, who face Cagliari on Sunday.