An early penalty and a neat chipped finish from Arturo Vidal gave Juventus a 2-0 win over Lazio at Stadio Olimpico.
Antonio Conte put his faith in Mirko Vucinic to lead the line for the Bianconeri, as they looked for the three points that could take them 11 points clear at the top of Serie A. Claudio Marchisio was also in unfamiliar surroundings with a seemingly more attacking role, whilst Federico Peluso came in for the injured Giorgio Chiellini.
The capital club meanwhile welcomed back Miroslav Klose to the starting XI after the Germany international missed their Europa League loss to Fenerbahce, with the home side hoping for the victory that could keep their Champions League dreams alive.
Those European ambitions looked to be on track early on, as the Aguile made an impressive start to the match. Andrea Candreva and Hernanes were causing problems in between the lines, with the Brazilian forcing Gianluigi Buffon into a smart save.
It didn’t last long though, as after just eight minutes, the Old Lady were awarded a penalty when Lorik Cana brought down Marchisio. Vidal stepped up and struck sweetly past Federico Marchetti for the opening goal.
The Turin giants grew from that point – with six midifelders on the pitch, they were keeping the ball with ease, and created a number of opportunities thanks to neat interplay in the middle of the park and the bombastic runs of Stephan Lichtsteiner. A mixture of poor finishing a good defending though, ensured that the lead wasn’t doubled.
Vladimir Petkovic’s men weren’t disheartened and went close on two occasions from corner kicks. But midway through the half, the Bianconeri showed their class and got themselves a second. Michael Ciani got in a tangle inside his own area, and Vidal was there to capitalize and lift a shot over Marchetti from just eight yards out for a comfortable lead going into the break.
Whatever Petkovic said at the interval, it worked. The hosts looked like a renewed side and took the game to Juve. Candreva with his pace and Libor Kozak with his height were hassling the Bianconeri, but it was Michael Ciani who nearly got a goal back for the Biancocelesti. The Frenchman rifled in a header from 12 yards out, but Buffon rolled back the years with a superb stop.
Marchisio could have topped off a fantastic performance with a goal, only to fire over from close-range – but Conte’s men offered little else going forward in the second 45. They were content to just keep the ball and tire out their already fatigued opponents. The Turin giants weren’t anywhere near as good as they had been, but quite frankly, they didn’t need to be. Lazio were showing no creative spark and looked toothless going forward as a result.
The visitors dominance saw the game peter out as they walked away with a comfortable three points.