Tue, Mar 25, 2014 - Page 18 News List

Juventus edge fiery contest at Catania

CLOSE ENCOUNTERS:Carlos Tevez scored to restore the leaders’ 14-point cushion at the top, while Joaquin headed a late winner for ACF Fiorentina at third-placed SSC Napoli

AP, MILAN, Italy

Carlos Tevez of Juventus, center top, scores past Catania goalkeeper Mariano Andujar, left, in their Serie A match at the Stadio Angelo Massimino in Catania, Italy, on Sunday.

Photo: EPA

Juventus maintained their charge to a third successive Serie A title as they won 1-0 at 10-man Catania in a fiery match in Serie A on Sunday.

Carlos Tevez scored the only goal of the game to take him level with Torino striker Ciro Immobile at the top of the scoring charts.

Catania were forced to play with 10 men for much of the second half after Gonzalo Bergessio was dismissed following a second booking. Both coaches were also sent to the stands for protests during the first half.

Juventus restored their 14-point lead over AS Roma, who have a game in hand.

“I think the referee wanted to give a warning to the players, by sending off the managers and calming things down a bit,” Conte said. “The match was very heated and we were good to keep a cool head. I am very proud of the lads. We are playing at extraordinary levels, but we have to give credit to Roma, who are doing something incredible. So we have to stay awake because nothing is over and decided yet.”

Earlier, ACF Fiorentina snatched a late 1-0 win at 10-man SSC Napoli to boost their chances of sneaking into the UEFA Champions League. Inter are four points further back after a last-minute goal consigned them to a 2-1 loss at home to Atalanta BC, while Parma are level, but with a game in hand, after they drew 1-1 with Genoa in the lunchtime kickoff.

“It was the perfect day, seeing as we opened up a gap on those behind us and got closer to third spot,” Fiorentina coach Vincenzo Montella said. “It will be difficult to reach because Napoli are strong and have a big advantage, but we’ll try right until the end.”

SS Lazio are five points off a European spot after being held to a 1-1 draw by AC Milan, while Hellas Verona’s European bid was dented again as they lost 5-0 at UC Sampdoria.

Elsewhere, Udinese beat US Sassuolo 1-0 and Bologna won a relegation fight against Cagliari by the same score.

It was top against bottom in Serie A and 55 points separated Juventus and Catania going into the match.

Tension was high from the start as the Juventus team coach was pelted with objects on its way to the stadium.

Juventus struggled, but broke the deadlock shortly before the hour mark. Pablo Osvaldo nodded back a long ball from Andrea Pirlo for Tevez to race forward and fire home an angled drive for his 16th goal of the season.

Both Napoli and Fiorentina were in need of a confidence boost after crashing out of the Europa League last week.

Faouzi Ghoulam was controversially dismissed in the 37th minute after bringing down Marko Bakic on the edge of the penalty area and Joaquin headed home the winner two minutes from time.

Fiorentina moved seven points behind third-placed Napoli.

There was also a late goal in Milan, where Giacomo Bonaventura scored his second of the game 10 seconds from time when he was left completely unmarked at the far post to head a free-kick between Samir Handanovic’s legs.

Mauro Icardi had canceled out Bonaventura’s opener within 60 seconds in the first half. To celebrate he held up a T-shirt dedicated to his girlfriend Wanda Nera, the former wife of former Sampdoria teammate Maxi Lopez.

Inter should have sealed the match in the second half, but Fredy Guarin smashed a shot off the crossbar and Rodrigo Palacio sent a glancing header onto the left upright.

Both sides could have snatched the win. Inter’s Jonathan cleared off the line three minutes from time, before chipping the ball off the underside of the crossbar at the other end.

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