Asamoah helps Juve to 14-point lead on Roma
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Last Updated: Sunday, March 09, 2014, 19:55
  
Asamoah helps Juve to 14-point lead on Roma
Rome: A first-half strike from Juventus winger Kwadwo Asamoah secured a 1-0 win over Fiorentina and stretched the champions` lead over nearest rivals Roma to 14 points on Sunday.

Second-placed Roma, who have a game in hand, travel to Napoli later looking to reduce the arrears and stretch their six-point lead over Rafael Benitez`s side.

But on this performance, Roma will have to hope Juventus -- who face Fiorentina home and away in the Europa League in the next 11 days -- suffer a major slip-up on what looks like a clear path towards a third consecutive scudetto.

Claudio Marchisio stepped into Andrea Pirlo`s deep-lying midfield role as the Italy veteran served a one-match ban, while Carlos Tevez and Fernando Llorente, who have scored 26 league goals between them, led the Bianconeri attack against Vincenzo Montella`s men.

Fiorentina had handed Juve their only defeat of the season, a 4-2 comeback win in Florence last October, but had only one win in their last 21 visits to Turin.

Juve started with plenty of intent, Tevez and Stephan Lichsteiner threatening with early chances while defender Andrea Barzagli did well to block Alberto Aquilani`s strike for the visitors.

Asamoah fired a first warning shot just before the half hour with a deflected effort which forced Neto into a one-handed save, while from the resulting corner the Ghanaian`s effort from a tight angle flashed wide.

Juan Vargas was quick to pounce on a poor backpass and although his effort was blocked the Peruvian midfielder proved more useful at the other end when he cleared off the line after Arturo Vidal headed Pogba`s flick-on from a corner towards goal.

Fiorentina`s defence was finally breached three minutes before the interval with Asamoah reaping rewards for what was a determined performance throughout.

The Ghanaian cut inside from the left and showed some nice skill with his left foot amid several purple jerseys before firing a right-footed shot past Neto at the keeper`s far post with the help of a slight deflection.

Fiorentina had the ball in the net three minutes after the restart but Modibo Diakite`s goal following a free-kick from outside the area was ruled offside.

Montella replaced tiring Brazilian midfielder Anderson with Mati Fernandez just before the hour but the visitors` first real chance fell to Mario Gomez, who saw his header from Manuel Pasqual`s cross go just off target.

Fiorentina continued to press and on 68 minutes Vargas`s powerful drive sailed just over Buffon`s crossbar.

Montella replaced David Pizarro with Rafal Wolski and the Polish midfielder threatened soon after with a low drive that finished wide of Buffon`s upright.

The Juve `keeper was given a bigger scare 10 minutes from time when Ryder Matos, unmarked in the six-yard box, finished off a good move with a close-range header which bounced off Buffon`s crossbar.
AFP

First Published: Sunday, March 09, 2014, 19:55


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