MILAN: Goals from Paul Pogba, Sebastian Giovinco and Stephan Lichsteiner eased Juventus to a 3-0 home win over Siena and a seven-point lead on Serie A title challengers Napoli on Sunday.
In the late match, dominant AC Milan had to settle for a 1-1 draw and a share of the points in the ‘Derby della Madonnina’ away to Inter after Ezequiel Schelotto levelled Stephan El Shaarawy’s 21st minute opener for the Rossoneri.
Milan remain third - the last possible position for Champions League qualification - but are now 13 points adrift of Juve.
“It was a fair result,” said Inter coach Andrea Stramaccioni, whose side remained fifth, 14 points shy of Juve and still one behind Milan.
“Milan had a great first half but we came back into it in the second.” “I’m satisfied with our first-half performance,” said Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri.
“But we should have closed out the match in the first half when we created several chances.”
While both Milan giants look ahead to fighting Napoli and Lazio for the European spots, Juve kept steamrolling their way to a likely 29th league title.
Lichsteiner opened the scoring on the half hour when an angled cross from Andrea Pirlo was parried by Siena ‘keeper Gianluca Pegolo and the ball bounced off the Swiss and into the net on the half hour.
Italy forward Giovinco virtually put the match beyond reach in the 74th minute when he pounced on the rebound from Pirlo’s free-kick to double Juve’s lead.
Frenchman Pogba sealed the win a minute from time with a superb low strike which beat Pegolo at his far post.
Some sections of Juve’s support voiced their disapproval during the match, however Conte hit back.
“The fans shouldn’t complain. Siena are in good form and they put in a solid performance against us, but we got the job done and took all three points. Roma’s visit to snow-hit Bergamo side Atalanta got off to the worst possible start when Croatian teenager Marko Livaja put the hosts ahead with a superb strike eight minutes in.
Roma levelled through Marquinho four minutes later and the Giallorossi moved into the lead just after the half hour thanks to Miralem Pjanic’s free-kick.
In worsening conditions and with visibility poor, Livaja, 19, restored parity on the stroke of half-time. Roma looked to be heading for only their fifth draw of the campaign until Greek defender Vassilas Torosidis got on the end of American Michael Bradley’s cross in the 71st minute to beat Andrea Consigli in the Atalanta net.
Atalanta finished the match with ten men after Matteo Contini was given his marching orders two minutes from the whistle for slapping Roma midfielder Simone Perrotta. Roma coach Aurelio Andreazzoli said: “They weren’t the best conditions for us and today we had to play more with brawn than brain. We’re happy at the outcome.”
Catania maintained their superb campaign with a shock 2-1 win away to Parma which kept the Sardinians in seventh and well within sight of a place in European football next season.
The weekend’s shootout, however, took place back on the island where Cagliari claimed a 4-3 win over nine-man Torino.