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Juventus continue resurgence, Fiorentina go top

TURIN: Juventus' Alvaro Morata, center, jumps for the ball during a Serie A soccer match between Juventus and Verona at the Juventus stadium, in Turin, Italy, yesterday. - AP
TURIN: Juventus’ Alvaro Morata, center, jumps for the ball during a Serie A soccer match between Juventus and Verona at the Juventus stadium, in Turin, Italy, yesterday. – AP

ROME: Champions Juventus continued their resurgence by beating Hellas Verona 3-0 at home yesterday for an eighth successive Serie A victory as Fiorentina provisionally went top of the table with a 3-1 win at Palermo. Juventus, who took one point from their opening three matches and were 11 behind the leaders on Oct. 31, are now third on 36 points after goals from Paulo Dybala, Leonardo Bonucci and Simone Zaza earned them a comfortable win.

Chasing a fifth consecutive Italian title, Juve are two points behind Fiorentina, who were helped to victory by two goals from Josip Ilicic, and level with Inter Milan, who can return to the summit with a win at Empoli later yesterday. AS Roma’s stuttering season continued when they twice let a lead slip to draw 3-3 at Chievo, leaving them fifth on 33 points and increasing the pressure on coach Rudi Garcia.

Roma, who took the lead when teenage striker Sadiq Umar scored for the second game running in his first league start, have won one of their last nine games in all competitions and recently exited the Italian Cup to second-tier Spezia. Bologna’s Emanuele Giaccherini scored in the 82nd minute to secure a surprise 1-0 win at AC Milan, while Frosinone and Sassuolo drew 2-2, Udinese defeated Atalanta 2-1 and Lazio’s clash with Carpi finished goalless.

With Serie A returning from its winter break, Juventus continued where they left off in December. The Turin side took the lead when Dybala scored his ninth league goal of the season, curling a fine free kick into the corner of the net in the eighth minute after Samuel Souprayen had brought down Stephan Lichtsteiner. Dybala was decisive again when his superb free kick was met emphatically by Bonucci in the 45th minute and Paul Pogba set up Zaza with eight minutes remaining to leave winless Verona bottom on eight points.

Roma’s Umar had found the net as they ended a seven-game winless run against Genoa before the winter break and struck again in the seventh minute against Chievo. Alessandro Florenzi added a second 30 minutes later, but Chievo drew level with goals from Alberto Paloschi and Dario Dainelli.

Roma’s Iago Falque made it 3-2 with a low strike in the 71st minute, but the home side equalised again when goalline technology showed that Simone Pepe’s effort had crossed the line.

Fiorentina’s Ilicic opened the scoring against Palermo in the 13th minute by knocking the ball between Edoardo Goldaniga’s legs and finishing beneath Stefano Sorrentino. The midfielder added a sublime second in the 42nd minute, making space on the edge of the box before slamming home a curling effort. Alberto Gilardino halved the deficit in the 77th minute, but Jakub Blaszczykowski added a late third. – Reuters

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