Juventus regained their three-point cushion at the Serie A summit after seeing off Empoli 2-0 at the Stadio Carlo Castellani on Saturday.
The champions’ shock midweek defeat to Genoa, coupled with a Roma victory over Cesena, put Juventus and the capital club level at the top going into the action. Their results were reversed this time around, as Juventus proved too strong for Empoli following Roma’s defeat to Napoli earlier in the day.
Massimiliano Allegri’s side did not have things all their own way against Maurizio Sarri’s strugglers and were made to wait until after the hour mark before taking the lead.
Andrea Pirlo’s sublime free-kick opened the scoring 61 minutes in before Alvaro Morata put the game to bed soon after with a delightful curled finish. Defender Lorenzo Tonelli was dismissed for the hosts late on but Juve were already ensured of three important points by then, following Roma’s 2-0 loss at the Stadio San Paolo.
Gonzalo Higuain got Napoli off to an ideal start when he opened the scoring in acrobatic fashion after just three minutes.
That was the in-form Argentinian’s fifth goal in three games, and he then turned provider for Jose Callejon to wrap up Napoli’s win five minutes from time. Rafael Benitez’s men are now unbeaten in seven Serie A outings, and sit third in the table ahead of Sunday’s games.
Saturday’s final fixture saw Parma ease the pressure on coach Roberto Donadoni and simultaneously turn up the heat on Inter boss Walter Mazzarri with a 2-0 home win. Both coaches’ positions have been the subject of much discussion in recent weeks, but Paolo De Ceglie’s brace was enough to move Parma off the bottom after a run of six consecutive Serie A defeats.