Juventus beat Catania to top Serie A

Last Updated: Feb 19, 2012, 14:10 PM IST

Rome: Juventus leapfrogged AC Milan to top the Italian Serie A football standings after they beat 10-man Catania 3-1 at home Saturday.

Pablo Barrientos put Catania ahead in the fourth minute before Andrea Pirlo equalised in the 22nd minute. Marco Motta got his marching order in the 64th minute and left Catania with one man less in coping against the hosts who scored later through Giorgio Chiellini and Fabio Quagliarella.

Juventus head coach Antonio Conte was pleased his side ended their dry spell and passed the Catania test.

"We should have never gone behind in the first place, but did well and showed maturity, giving a strong response to the fans and proving this is a strong side," Conte was quoted as saying by Xinhua.

"We are a great squad and I saw that in the celebrations too. We knew that Catania were strong and motivated with many interesting players. I think they are doing a great job in Sicily," he added.

Catania raced to lead when Barrientos turned past Pirlo on the edge of the penalty area, sending a shot curling beyond the reach of Gianluigi Buffon into the far corner.

Juventus pulled it level with Pirlo curling a direct free-kick round the wall and into the side of the goal left.

Quagliarella hit the crossbar in the 30th minute with Gonzalo Bergessio replicating at the other end two minutes later.

Pirlo was next to strike the woodwork with his free-kick dipping and just grazing the crossbar early in the second half.

Former Juventus defender Motta was shown a second yellow card in the 64th minute, and with Catania reduced to 10 men, Juventus dropped anchor in their half of the field.

They took the lead just 10 minutes after Motta`s dismissal with Chiellini winning a wrestling match and Bergessio at the far post heading Pirlo`s free-kick in.

Quagliarella then put the result beyond doubt in the 81st minute.

IANS