Juventus in seventh heaven, rampant AS Roma reduce arrears
Coach Massimiliano Allegri earned plaudits as a rejigged Juventus claimed their biggest league win in 31 years with a 7-0 rout of Parma which left visiting coach Roberto Donadoni feeling "impotent and embarrassed" on Sunday.
Rome: Coach Massimiliano Allegri earned plaudits as a rejigged Juventus claimed their biggest league win in 31 years with a 7-0 rout of Parma which left visiting coach Roberto Donadoni feeling "impotent and embarrassed" on Sunday.
Fernando Llorente, Carlos Tevez and Alvaro Morata scored a brace apiece with Stephan Lichsteiner firing a superb goal as the defending champions crushed Donadoni`s men to record their biggest win since a 7-0 success over Ascoli in December 1983.
The win initially stretched Juve`s lead over title challengers Roma to six points, although the gap was halved when the Giallorossi trounced Torino 3-0 at the Olympic Stadium.
Injuries to Patrice Evra, Kwadwo Asamoah and Angelo Ogbonna in recent weeks had forced Allegri to ditch his tried and trusted 3-5-2 formation for last week`s Champions League clash with Olympiakos in Turin.
After the Bianconeri ran out 3-2 winners against the Greeks, Allegri on Sunday adopted a 4-3-1-2 formation that, coupled with Parma`s total lack of threat, underlined Juve`s potency even when forced to play out of their comfort zone.
But Allegri played down suggestions he could rethink his tactical strategy for the rest of the season: "That system won three consecutive Scudetti (league titles), and we used it well at the start of the season as well.
"It`s all down to how you interpret systems, not just the line-up."
Parma`s hopes of building on their second win of the season, a 2-0 defeat of Inter last week, faded quickly.
Even with midfield linchpin Andrea Pirlo rested and Simone Padoin and Stephan Lichsteiner dropping back to right and left-back positions, Juve were never under threat.
By the end of a totally one-sided contest in rainy Turin, Parma were back in bottom spot as Donadoni contemplated the gulf that lies between the top and bottom sides in Serie A.
"The game is easy to explain: we faced a great Juve side and we simply didn`t show up," Donadoni told Radio Rai.
"All you`re left with is a feeling of impotence and embarrassment after a game like that."
Dutch midfielder Kevin Strootman made his return from injury for Roma following an eight-month layoff due to a cruciate ligament injury but by the time he came on with seven minutes remaining the damage had been done.
Roma were given an eighth-minute lead by Vasilis Torosidis and doubled their lead when Seydou Keita powered into the area to slam a drive past Jean-Francois Gillet just before the half hour for his maiden goal for the club.
When Adem Ljajic latched on to Miralem Pjanic`s inch-perfect through ball just before the hour, he completed the victory with a sumptuous drive from outside the area that had Gillet clutching at thin air.
Earlier, Napoli moved up to third with a stirring performance at Fiorentina where Gonzalo Higuain`s 61st minute strike from inside the area secured the points for Rafael Benitez`s men.
La Viola have now taken only four points from their last five games and dropped to 11th spot.
Benitez, meanwhile, is hoping the international break gives his resurgent squad a chance to recover.
"We`re in third place and we`ll be there for the next two weeks," said Benitez.
"We`ll use that time to recover, regroup and prepare for our next game against Cagliari."
High-flying Sampdoria dropped to fourth, one point behind Napoli, after being held 2-2 by Milan in Genoa on Saturday, with Lazio a further point adrift in fifth after a 2-1 slip-up away to promoted Empoli.
Ten-man Inter, meanwhile, escaped with a 2-2 draw at home to Verona, who saw Luca Toni miss a second-half penalty after Chilean midfielder Gary Medel saw red for a second bookable offence on 51 minutes.
Toni`s close-range volley gave Verona a 10th-minute lead only for Mauro Icardi to hit a brace of goals on 18 minutes and three minutes after the restart to give Walter Mazzarri`s stuttering side the lead under the watchful eye of president Erick Thohir.
A late leveller from Nico Lopez, however, handed Verona a share of the points to leave Inter in ninth, 12 points behind Juve and one behind city rivals AC Milan.