Tevez strikes as Juve rout Lazio


Mon, Sep 02, 2013 - Page 18

Carlos Tevez scored his second Serie A goal in as many weeks as champions Juventus thumped SS Lazio 4-1 to sit second in the early standings behind SSC Napoli, 4-2 winners earlier at AC Chievo Verona.

Juventus put four unanswered goals past Lazio on their way to winning the Italian Supercoppa two weekends previously, when Tevez scored his maiden goal for the Bianconeri.

Having secured all three points for Antonio Conte’s side in a 1-0 win over US Sampdoria the previous weekend, the Argentine capped a dominant display by the hosts — marked notably by a brace from Chilean Arturo Vidal — with a fine individual effort in the 80th minute.

“Putting four goals past Lazio again is a sign that our form is getting better, both on a collective and individual level,” Juve coach Antonio Conte said. “We were spectacular in the first 25 minutes in terms of intensity and execution of our game plan. We were unlucky to concede the goal when we were leading 2-0.”

Lazio started in positive fashion, Hernanes picking up a loose ball from Juve defender Andrea Barzagli and testing Gianluigi Buffon, with the goalkeeper having to parry for a corner, but it served only to waken Juventus from their slumber, and until Vidal’s 14th-minute opener they consigned the visitors to their own third of the pitch as they launched assault after assault.

Vidal broke the deadlock in style, timing his run onto Paul Pogba’s sumptuous ball perfectly to beat a poor Lazio offside trap and then flick the ball past onrushing goalkeeper Federico Marchetti.

Barely 10 minutes later, the Chilean attacking midfielder, Juve’s top scorer last season, doubled the hosts’ lead thanks to another well-timed move as Lazio’s defense fell asleep.

This time, defender Leonardo Bonucci hit a long diagonal ball from midfield and Vidal, deep on the right flank, controlled with his right foot, before sending the ball under the flailing Marchetti with his left.

Lazio reduced the arrears barely a minute later when Gianluigi Buffon pushed Hernanes’s fierce long-range drive into the path of Miroslav Klose. The big German striker rushed to get to the ball first ahead of Bonucci to shove it home and open his account for the season.

Minutes later, Buffon was forced to punch the ball out for a corner after a stinging shot from Stefan Radu and Juve had their goalkeeper to thank on the stroke of halftime when he parried another on-target effort from Hernanes.

Juve edged closer to sealing their second win of the campaign when Vucinic latched on to another perfect long ball from Bonucci, beating Marchetti with a deft touch at the goalkeeper’s left-hand post.

Lazio’s chances of taking anything from the match faded in the 63rd minute when Hernanes saw red for a second bookable offense, a blatant handball in the Bianconeri penalty area.

Although Lazio produced several half-chances, Vladimir Petkovic’s men never really threatened and Tevez virtually sealed the victory 10 minutes from time.

A great pass from Vidal on the right flank was dummied by Vucinic and when Tevez took possession he turned Lorik Cana on the edge of the area, before beating Marchetti with a well-placed low shot.

Earlier on Saturday, Marek Hamsik scored his second brace in as many Serie A games and Gonzalo Higuain netted his first goal for Napoli as Rafael Benitez’s side won 4-2 at Chievo.

Benitez hailed the “character” of the side he took charge of after Walter Mazzarri left for Inter in the summer.

“The key to our success was the boys’ character. This team has the strength to make amends for mistakes they make because, up front, we have huge potential,” the Spaniard said.