Juve stretches lead

Reuters
JUVENTUS winger Juan Cuadrado come off the bench after a three-month injury layoff to score the goal which set the Serie A leader on the way to a 3-1 win over AC Milan on Saturday.
Reuters
Reuters

Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon consoles AC Milan ‘keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma after their Serie A match in Turin on Saturday.

JUVENTUS winger Juan Cuadrado come off the bench after a three-month injury layoff to score the goal which set the Serie A leader on the way to a 3-1 win over AC Milan on Saturday.

Juventus, chasing a seventh successive title, stretched its lead to four points despite conceding its first league goal this year, scored by its former defender Leonardo Bonucci.

Napoli needed an own goal from Sassuolo midfielder Rogerio 10 minutes from time to salvage a point in a 1-1 draw against lowly Sassuolo.

Elsewhere, there was another contentious decision involving the video assistant referee when Genoa was given a penalty and visiting SPAL had a player sent off for a foul even though no contact appeared to be made.

Paulo Dybala gave the hosts a 7th-minute lead only for Bonucci, who left Juventus at the end of last season, to head Milan level and end Juve’s run of 959 minutes without conceding a goal — the second longest in Serie A history.

Encouraged by that, Milan took the initiative and Hakan Calhanoglu rattled the bar with a powerful drive early in the second half.

But, as so often, Juventus dug itself out of the hole, this time thanks to Cuadrado who met Sami Khedira’s cross with a diving header at the far post with 11 minutes left. Khedira himself fired the third.

With 8 rounds of matches to play, Juventus, which hosts Real Madrid in their UEFA Champions League quarterfinal first leg tomorrow, leads with 78 points, followed by Napoli on 74, AS Roma (60) and Inter Milan (58).

Napoli fell behind to a Matteo Politano goal at Sassuolo, which is 16th and 4 clear of the drop zone, and only rescued a point when Rogerio turned Mario Rui’s cross into his own goal under pressure from Jose Callejon.

There was drama at Genoa where Gianluca Lapadula missed an early penalty against SPAL but was given a second chance after Francesco Vicari was controversially judged to have fouled him just before the half hour.

Vicari appeared to make no contact, but after a 4-minute VAR consultation, the referee pointed to the spot and sent off the SPAL player. Lapadula converted but SPAL hit back with a Manuel Lazzarri goal on the hour.

Elsewhere, Inter Milan captain Mauro Icardi scored twice in a 3-0 win over Verona while Lazio blasted five goals in the last half hour to demolish table-propping Benevento 6-2.

Edin Dzeko came off the bench to equalize for third-placed Roma, which visits Barcelona in the UCL on Wednesday, after Erick Pulgar had given Bologna a first-half lead.

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