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Pirlo's last-gap free kick saves Juventus

English.news.cn   2014-03-17 09:29:45

ROME, March 16 (Xinhua) -- Andrea Pirlo curled in a last-minute free kick to give Juventus a 1-0 win at Genoa on Sunday.

The reigning champions were under pressure at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris and an under-strength team struggled to dominate an enterprising Genoa side.

Their veteran goalkeeper Gigi Buffon parried an Emanuele Calaio penalty before Pirlo scored the winner in the 89th minute.@ With Roma playing on Monday, the win puts Juventus 17 points clear at the top of Serie A.

Juventus head coach Conte was in an excited mood as to see his side won in such a dramatic way.

"Inevitably coming here and winning in Genoa against a team that played the game of their lives, after our run of matches with tired players I couldn't rotate, it means only a great team could've done it," he said.

"Genoa were very aggressive, but the forwards did very well to hold on to the ball and we had scored other goals, so I am satisfied. We could've been more precise in the final ball, but they did well both attacking and defending," he said.

His Genoa counterpart Gian Piero Gasperini felt hurt by his side's defeat

"Losing a game like this is incredibly painful. We played well for 90 minutes and we thought that we'd be able to win it and make history, so to lose is hard to swallow," he said.

"We worked hard, with determination, strong fitness levels and also quality, as it wasn't just grit. We created some good scoring opportunities and then this Pirlo gem at the end threw away the game," he said.

AC Milan's miserable run was stretched as old boy Antonio Cassano inspired Parma to a 4-2 victory at San Siro.

The pressure has been building on coach Clarence Seedorf following back-to-back Serie A defeats to Juventus and Udinese while the seven-time European champions limped out of the Champions League this week.

Seedorf has played down reports of a falling-out with striker Mario Balotelli, who scored Milan's second after Adil Rami weakened the impact of Cassano's early brace, but the Italy striker continues to flatter to deceive.

To make matters worse, the Rossoneri will be without Christian Abbiati for next week's trip to Lazio after the veteran goalkeeper saw red in the opening minutes. Amauri and Jonathan Biabiany scored late on to ensure all three points went back to Parma as the Ducale club reached fifth place on the back of a third straight win.

Sassuolo boosted their Serie A survival hopes with a 3-1 win over Catania.

Gonzalo Bergessio had grabbed a first-half lead for Catania, who looked dangerous through Spanish winger Keko, but Sassuolo hit back with three goals after the interval to leapfrog their opponents and leave the Sicilians bottom of the table.

Livorno are the side to catch for the bottom three after they moved out of the drop zone on Sunday with a 2-1 win over Bologna, who dropped into the relegation zone in their place.

Fiorentina halted their recent slump with a 3-1 home win over struggling Chievo, although they lie seven points behind third-placed Napoli in the table.

Two clubs troubled by off-field unrest, Cagliari and Lazio, met at Stadio Sant'Elia, with the capital club triumphing 2-0.

Lazio boss Edy Reja has overseen a recent upturn in form, and goals in each half from Senad Lulic and Balde Keita saw them rise to seventh place with a third win in four league games.

Atalanta beat Sampdoria 3-0 in a mid-table clash, a third straight success lifting the victors four places to ninth.

Editor: Yamei Wang
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