Vidal's brace puts Juventus on top, more pressure on Benitez

A brace from Arturo Vidal and a late Stephan Lichsteiner strike in a 3-0 romp of Cesena sent Juventus top of Serie A on goal difference as the pressure grew on Rafael Benitez after Napoli drew 3-3 with Palermo.

A brace from Arturo Vidal and a late Stephan Lichsteiner strike in a 3-0 romp of Cesena sent Juventus top of Serie A on goal difference as the pressure grew on Rafael Benitez after Napoli drew 3-3 with Palermo.

Roma, along with Juve the only other team with a perfect record in Italy`s top flight, thanked Miralem Pjanic`s free kick two minutes from time for all three points in a 2-1 win away to Parma.

Inter Milan moved up to third thanks to a 2-0 home win over Atalanta while Sampdoria`s solid start was given a boost by a 2-1 home win over Chievo which left Sinisa Mihajlovic`s men fourth. 

Champions Juventus sit top on 12 points from four games with Roma second due to inferior goal difference and Inter in third, four points off the pace but one ahead of city rivals Milan, who could only manage a 2-2 draw away to promoted Empoli on Tuesday.

Juventus dominated Cesena from the outset and after Sebastian Giovinco tested Nicola Leali with two volleys in the early stages Vidal stepped up to beat the `keeper from the spot after Roberto Pereyra`s shot came off the arm of midfielder Emmanuel Cascione.

With Giovinco stepping in for Carlos Tevez, it was a case of little and large for Juve up front with the diminutive striker partnering towering Spaniard Fernando Llorente.

Just after the half hour Llorente spun on Patrice Evra`s low drive only to send his effort just wide, although it was Giovinco who came closest to adding Juve`s second on three separate occasions. 

Juve finally settled their nerves in the 64th minute when Vidal had time to control on the edge of the area before beating Leali with a precision strike -- another reason why the Chilean is reported to be a target for English giants Manchester United. 

Lichsteiner put the icing on the Juve cake with a fine angled strike after Simone Padoin sent the Swiss wingback through with a defence-splitting pass five minutes from time.

At Parma, Adem Ljajic gave Rudi Garcia`s visitors a 27th-minute lead when he ran on to Francesco Totti`s sublime chip to fire a half-volley through the legs of `keeper Antonio Mirante from 10 yards. 

Antonio Cassano was a nuisance to the Roma defence all evening but it was Paolo De Sceglie who levelled with a header from a corner on 56 minutes.

Roma pressed in the late stages but a superb tackle from defender Felipe stopped Alessandro Florenzi in his tracks as the Italian teed up to strike yards from goal.

Minutes later a Felipe foul on Mattia Destro gave away the free kick which allowed Bosnian forward Pjanic to step up and beat Mirante with a well-placed curler.

Napoli`s title hopes have been compromised by a shaky start to the season and the future of Benitez now looks uncertain after Palermo managed to claim their first draw against the Partenopei in four years.

Kalidou Koulibaly rose to head his maiden Napoli goal past Stefano Sorrentino in the Palermo goal after just two minutes and soon after Duvan Zapata fired into the top corner from Marek Hajmsik`s lay-off after a midfield interception.

However goals from Andrea Belotti and then Franco Vazquez had levelled the score by 24 minutes and despite Jose Callejon hitting a third for Napoli on the stroke of half-time Belotti hit his second just after the hour to stun the hosts.

Pablo Dani Osvaldo scored arguably the goal of the night with a superb volley to beat Marco Sportiello in the Atalanta goal on 40 minutes, although Hernanes` rocket free kick three minutes from time was a close second.

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