Tue, Mar 11, 2014 - Page 19 News List

Juve extend lead to 14, as Napoli trim gap to Roma

AP, MILAN, Italy

Juventus striker Carlos Tevez controls the ball in their Serie A match against ACF Fiorentina on Sunday in Turin, Italy.

Photo: Reuters

Juventus took a giant step toward a third straight Serie A title after beating ACF Fiorentina 1-0 on Sunday to extend their lead at the top of the standings to 14 points, as second-placed AS Roma lost 1-0 at SSC Napoli.

Roma have a game in hand, but their second-place spot is now at risk after Napoli moved within three points with Sunday’s win.

“The result is not always fair,” Roma coach Rudi Garcia said. “The gap is already too much for the title. We have to go forwards and remain focused for second spot.”

In Turin, Kwadwo Asamoah scored a superb goal three minutes from halftime to give Juventus the lead. Unlike in their season opener — in which the champions squandered a two-goal lead against Fiorentina to lose 4-2 in their only league defeat of the campaign so far — the Bianconeri held on to record their 14th Serie A home victory and maintain their perfect record at Juventus Stadium this season.

“The wins against [AC] Milan and today have put pressure on those behind us,” Juventus coach Antonio Conte said. “I feel we’re 50 percent champions, [but] there are still 11 matches left. We shouldn’t give up, like that those behind us will convince themselves they can’t do it.”

It was the first of three matches in less than two weeks that will pit Juve against the Viola since the two also meet in the Europa League.

“I think we had a great second half. We have to pick up from there,” Fiorentina coach Vincenzo Montella said. “On Thursday, we have the chance to have our say and show what we can do.”

Juve broke the deadlock on Sunday when Asamoah cut in from the left and carved out space between four Fiorentina defenders before unleashing a stunning effort which took a slight deflection before going in off the inside of the far post.

Napoli beat Roma 3-0 the last time the two met at the Stadio San Paolo in the Coppa Italia semi-final.

Jose Maria Callejon scored in that match and he did so again on Sunday eight minutes from time, heading Faouzi Ghoulam’s cross in to hand Roma only their second league defeat of the season.

“This was a very important match for us,’’ Callejon said. “We all gave 110 percent and at the end we won.”

Elsewhere in the league on Sunday, Inter moved to a point behind fourth-placed Fiorentina after beating Torino 1-0, while Parma, who have a game in hand, are a point further back following a 2-0 victory over Hellas Verona.

At the other end of the table, AS Livorno wasted a two-goal lead to lose a relegation battle 4-2 at UC Sampdoria, as AC Chievo Verona secured a 2-1 win over Genoa and Bologna drew 0-0 with US Sassuolo.

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