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Juventus break down nine-man Chievo to move top of Serie A

 

Juventus profited from two sendings-off as they battled to a 2-0 win over AC Chievo Verona at the Stadio Marc’Antonio Bentegodi on Saturday evening.

The Bianconeri netted two goals in the final 23 minutes through Sami Khedira and Gonzalo Higuain after the hosts had a player dismissed either side of the interval.

A sixth Serie A win on the spin lifts Juventus two points clear at the league summit, though Napoli can regain top spot if they beat Bologna on Sunday.

Without a number of star names, including the not-yet-fit Gianluigi Buffon, Juve probed away with little reward during the first half of the contest.

Higuain and Miralem Pjanic both attempted shots that came to little and Fabrizio Cacciatore produced a big block to prevent Mario Mandzukic tapping home.

Chievo were shown the first of two red cards shortly before the half-time break, as Samuel Bastien was cautioned twice in quick succession for infringements on Kwadwo Asamoah.

Stefano Sorrentino was needed to keep out Khedira as the Old Lady began to turn the screw, and he was also there to thwart Mandzukic at the end of a Douglas Costa cross.

Up the other end stand-in keeper Wojciech Szczesny blocked Cacciatore’s header, before a bizarre incident that saw the full-back seemingly dismissed for a gesture towards the referee.

The inevitable soon happened as Juventus found a way through, with Khedira drilling the ball home from 12 yards after Federico Bernardeschi pulled the ball back into a dangerous zone.

Chievo, now without a win in this fixture in 17 attempts since 2009, managed to trouble their opponents and Ivan Radovanovic may have found a way through if not for the quick reaction of Szczesny to race off his line.

Juve killed things off two minutes from time, however, as Higuain got away from his marker to convert Costa’s cross with his head and seal the points.

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