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Serie A

  • October 20, 2012
  • • 17:00
  • • Juventus Stadium, Torino
  • Referee: A. Damato
  • • Attendance: 41000
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Juventus 2-0 Napoli: Caceres & Pogba send champions clear at Serie A summit

Juventus 2-0 Napoli: Caceres & Pogba send champions clear at Serie A summit

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The Bianconeri struggled to break down a stubborn Partenopei side, but they secured three precious points in the closing stages thanks to two of their substitutes

Juventus moved three points clear of Napoli at the top of Serie A by striking late to claim a vital 2-0 victory over their Scudetto rivals.

The Bianconeri had the better of a disappointing encounter in terms of possession and territory, but they struggled to create any clear-cut chances and it was Napoli who came closest to opening the scoring during the first-half, with forward Edinson Cavani hitting the crossbar with a free kick.

However, the hosts eventually made the breakthrough with 10 minutes to go when Martin Caceres headed home an Andrea Pirlo corner just moments after being introduced from the bench.

Fellow substitute Paul Pogba repeated the feat just moments later with a terrific volley to ensure that Napoli left Turin empty handed and give the his side the initiative in this season's title race.

Juventus began the game like they meant business, with Sebastian Giovinco testing Morgan De Sanctis with a low strike inside the opening 60 seconds.

However, the visitors were in no mood to be bullied. On the contrary, they seemed intent on roughing the Bianconeri up in the early stages, a tactic which resulted in the conceding of a succession of free kicks.

Indeed, after weathering what was a very early storm, Napoli settled and came agonisingly close to taking the lead midway through the first-half, when Cavani struck the top of the crossbar with a curling free kick from an acute angle wide on the left.

As it was, the two sides were still level at the interval, a well-struck drive from Claudio Marchisio, right on half-time, the only other effort of note in an ill-tempered, underwhelming and largely incident-free opening 45 minutes.

Juve continued to dominate possession in the second period but to little effect. However, Giovinco really should have ended the stalemate 10 minutes into the second-half when the ball dropped invitingly for him in the area, after he himself had miscued a low cross from Kwadwo Asamoah. However, after shifting it onto his right foot, the former Parma man fired wide.

For the most part, Juventus were still struggling to prise open the Napoli defence, but Pirlo did just that midway through the second-half with a sublime pass over the top. However, Alessandro Matri, just on as a replacement for the ineffective Fabio Quagliarella, failed dismally to control the ball and it bounced harmlessly into the grateful arms of De Sanctis.

Caceres, though, would not be so profligate when he was presented with the chance to be the hero, the versatile defender timing his arrival into the six-yard box to perfection before burying Pirlo's corner past a helpless De Sanctis.

Not to be outdone, Pogba, who had taken over in midfield from the subdued Arturo Vidal, made the points safe when he demonstrated wonderful technique in finding the bottom corner with a controlled volley from the edge of the area just three minutes later.

The result leaves Juventus three points clear at the top of Serie A and extends their unbeaten run to a staggering 47 games.

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