Tevez fires Juve 14 points clear

UNERRING ARGENTINE::A brace from forward Carlos Tevez in Turin saw off Parma, while SSC Napoli closed the gap on AS Roma with a 4-2 victory at Catania

AP, MILAN, Italy

Fri, Mar 28, 2014 - Page 18

Carlos Tevez scored twice to move top of the Serie A scoring charts and help league leaders Juventus beat 10-man Parma 2-1 for a record 15th home win on Wednesday.

Tevez has now scored 18 league goals in his first season at Juventus following his move from Manchester City.

“Better than this is impossible, but the important thing is that the team won,” Tevez said.

Cristian Molinaro reduced the deficit, but Parma striker Amauri was sent off three minutes later.

Despite the numerical disadvantage Parma almost snatched a draw, but Molinaro was denied by a goal-line clearance and the visitors had strong penalty appeals turned down.

“I don’t know if it was a penalty, those who understand football know how to judge it,” Parma coach Roberto Donadoni said. “I think sometimes you have to take into account players’ tricks, but you only have a matter of seconds to do that on the pitch.”

Juventus restored their 14-point advantage over AS Roma, who beat Torino 2-1 on Tuesday and have played a game less than their rivals.

SSC Napoli moved six points behind Roma with a 4-2 win at Catania and boosted their chances of securing the final UEFA Champions League spot as ACF Fiorentina lost 2-0 at home to AC Milan.

Mario Balotelli set up one goal and scored the other to help under-fire Milan boss Clarence Seedorf, who was reportedly on the verge of the sack before last weekend’s draw at SS Lazio.

“And some people say I won’t even be going to the World Cup,” Balotelli said. “This victory didn’t save anyone, because there wasn’t anyone to save. The dressing room is united. Of course, we’re upset because we won’t get into the Champions League and maybe not into the Europa League either, but not disunited.”

Atalanta BC maintained their push for a Europa League spot as they beat AS Livorno 2-0 and leapfrogged Lazio into seventh after the capital side lost 2-0 at Genoa.

Also on Wednesday, it was AC Chievo Verona 3, Bologna 0; US Sassuolo 1, UC Sampdoria 2; and Cagliari 1, Hellas Verona 0.

Juventus had won all 14 of their home league matches this season, while Parma were on a club record unbeaten run of 17 matches.

Tevez broke the deadlock at Juventus Stadium in the 25th minute with a powerful run down the right, holding off Gabriel Paletta before slotting a low effort into the near side of the net.

It was his 17th goal of the season and an immediate response to Ciro Immobile after the Torino striker reached that tally against Roma. The Argentina forward moved solo at the top of the scoring charts seven minutes later.

Tevez found Arturo Vidal on the right and then raced into the penalty area to tap home after the Chile international’s cross-shot was parried by Parma goalkeeper Antonio Mirante.

Parma got back into the match shortly after the hour mark with a fantastic volley from Molinaro on the edge of the penalty area, but Amauri was harshly adjudged to have elbowed Juventus defender Giorgio Chiellini shortly afterwards.

Molinaro almost leveled near the end, but Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon parried his effort and Leonardo Bonucci cleared in a goalmouth scramble. Parma appealed heavily for a penalty for a foul on Marco Parolo, but to no avail.

In Sicily, Napoli gave Catania an early warning as they had three good opportunities in the opening five minutes and they took the lead in the 16th minute.

Marek Hamsik found Jose Maria Callejon on the right and he crossed for Duvan Zapata to tap in for his first league goal.

Callejon doubled the visitors’ advantage, before Henrique scored his first Napoli goal with a strike from the tightest of angles.

Zapata all but sealed the match on the stroke of halftime, although Catania attempted a comeback in the second period as defenders Fabian Monzon and Norbert Gyomber also scored their debut league goals.

Fiorentina forward Alessandro Matri, who is on loan from AC Milan, missed a couple of early chances against his old team and it was the under-fire visitors who took a surprise lead in the 23rd minute.

Balotelli had been dropped for the weekend draw against Lazio, but he returned to the starting lineup and fired in a free-kick which was parried by Neto, but straight to Philippe Mexes, who headed in.

Balotelli doubled Milan’s advantage with another free-kick into the top-right corner in the 64th minute.

Fifth-placed Inter could close the gap on ACF Fiorentina to just one point with victory at home to Udinese yesterday.

Parma are currently level on points with Inter, with Atalanta four points below the final Europa League spot following a club record fifth consecutive win.