Juventus pounced on errors and pulled together another impressive display to beat Lazio 3-0 on Sunday and leapfrog them up to third in the Serie A table.
Having won each of their last five league outings, Massimiliano Allegri’s men had shaken off a poor start to the season and European disappointment to bring the game to Napoli in Turin, enjoying the better spells of possession in the first half and taking the lead on the verge of the interval.
That goal forced Napoli to come out of their shells some more and force their way back into the contest, which ultimately left them susceptible to counter attacks. It was a performance that showed the belief coming back into a quietly resurgent Juve outfit, who snapped Napoli’s nine-game unbeaten away run with victory ahead of the World Cup break.
Following on from a recent upturn in form, Juve started quickly inside the Allianz stadium and came close to taking an early lead through youngster Nicolo Fagioli and later Arkadiusz Milik, the latter’s effort whistling just wide of the post.
Napoli worked their way into proceedings without stretching Juve’s defence all too much, but crucially stifled the hosts and tried to slow them down as much as they could. In doing so, they were happy to cede possession and focus on stopping the Old Lady in the middle of the park.
With the game looking set to be goalless at the break, Adrien Rabiot sent a searching long ball behind the defence which was met by Moise Kean and coolly lofted above on-rushing goalkeeper Ivan Provedel, who wasn’t out quickly enough, giving Juve the lead on the stroke of half-time.
Juan Cuadrado made a tremendous recovery run to track back into his own box and block Pedro who was clean through on goal in the 52nd minute, as Lazio desperately looked for a way back into proceedings.
But just as they pushed, Kean was again ready and waiting to pounce on the break. After Milik had won the ball back high up, Filip Kostic forced a fine, low save out of Provedel, whose parry fell straight into the path of the Italian to tuck away his second of the night, and his fifth in as many games.
From then on, the game fell perfectly into the hands of the Old Lady. They maintained their discipline in the form of a strict defensive block and allowed Lazio to probe for a goal, although Maurizio Sarri’s side had little luck in doing so.
Milik getting on the scoresheet in the final minute of normal time was the icing on the cake, finishing with ease from Federico Chiesa’s accurate low cross for 3-0.
The World Cup break comes at a frustrating time for Allegri’s side, who haven’t conceded in over 500 minutes of Serie A action and have bounced back well following extreme pressure. Lazio, meanwhile, must lick their wounds over the break, knowing the defeat cannot undo previous good form.
GK: Wojciech Szczesny (7); CB: Gleison Bremer (7), CB: Federico Gatti (7), CB: Danilo (7); RWB: Juan Cuadrado (7), CM: Nicolo Fagioli (7), CM: Manuel Locatelli (8), CM: Adrien Rabiot (8), LWB: Filip Kostic (7); ST: Moise Kean (9), ST: Arkadiusz Milik (8)
SUB: Angel Di Maria (6), Federico Chiesa (7), Leandro Paredes (6)
GK: Ivan Provedel (7); RB: Adam Marusic (6), CB: Nicolo Casale (7), CB: Alessio Romagnoli (7), LB: Elseid Hysaj (6); CM: Sergej Milinkovic-Savic (7), CM: Danilo Cataldi (7), CM: Toma Basic (6); RW: Luka Romero (7), ST: Felipe Anderson (6), LW: Pedro (7)
SUB: Luis Alberto (6), Matias Vecino (6), Matteo Cancellieri (6), Mario Gila (6), Marcos Antonio (6)