Tue, Dec 03, 2013 - Page 19 News List

Late winner sees Juventus stretch their lead at top

AP, MILAN, Italy

Fernando Llorente scored a stoppage-time winner to help Juventus snatch a 1-0 win over Udinese and stretch their lead at the top of Serie A to three points after AS Roma drew 1-1 at Atalanta BC.

Roma also needed a late goal as Kevin Strootman scored in the final minute to preserve his team’s unbeaten record.

Mario Balotelli’s free-kick helped AC Milan beat Catania 3-1 for their first win in six league matches, while a last-minute equalizer saw UC Sampdoria earn a 1-1 draw at Inter in front of new Nerazzurri president Erick Thohir.

Elsewhere, Cagliari came back from two goals down to draw 2-2 against US Sassuolo and AC Chievo Verona beat AS Livorno 3-0.

Juventus dominated possession, but it was Udinese who had the best opportunities and home goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon pulled off a three stunning saves to deny Antonio di Natale twice and Andrea Lazzari.

Defender Stephan Lichtsteiner returned after almost two months out with an injury and he was instrumental in the Juventus goal, flicking on a cross for Llorente to head past the motionless Zeljko Brkic.

Llorente had almost scored moments earlier, but saw his header cleared off the line by Udinese defender Allan.

Kickoff had been brought forward to allow more than 12,000 children to fill the stands behind each goal, replacing the ultras who had been banned for insulting territorial chants against SSC Napoli.

It was Juve’s sixth successive league victory without conceding a goal.

“We have to continue like this,” Juventus coach Antonio Conte said. “We have 12 wins, a draw and a defeat. That’s very important, but we mustn’t sit back on our successes.”

Key playmaker Andrea Pirlo limped off after 13 minutes with a knee injury.

Earlier, Roma were held to their fourth successive draw.

Atalanta, who had hit the post in the first half, took the lead seven minutes after halftime when Davide Brivio sent a free-kick under the wall and into the bottom-right corner, although Roma goalkeeper Morgan de Sanctis was partly at fault as he misjudged the flight of the ball.

US international forward Michael Bradley thought he had leveled in the 76th minute, but his header was harshly ruled out for offside.

Atalanta goalkeeper Andrea Consigli made several good saves, but could do nothing when Adem Ljajic crossed for Kevin Strootman to tap in from close range.

There was also a last-gasp leveler at the San Siro, where Thohir was watching his first match since being elected president last month.

Inter captain Javier Zanetti made his first start since snapping his Achilles tendon in April and his side took the lead in the 18th minute when Ricardo Alvarez worked his way through on the left of the penalty area, before rolling across for Fredy Guarin to lash in under the bar.

Guarin almost doubled his tally seven minutes after the interval, but his effort crashed off the post. Shortly afterward, Sampdoria striker Nicola Pozzi’s effort was ruled out for offside.

Substitute Renan leveled in the final minute with a powerful shot from distance, just three minutes after coming off the bench.

In the lunchtime kickoff, Milan dominated possession, but it was Catania who took the lead in the 13th minute against the run of play as poor defending eventually saw Lucas Castro’s effort deflected over stand-in goalkeeper Gabriel.

The visitors leveled six minutes later when Riccardo Montolivo volleyed Urby Emanuelson’s cross into the back of the net.

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