Juventus swept Napoli aside 3-0 thanks to Fernando Llorente, Andrea Pirlo and a spectacular Paul Pogba volley, moving within a point of Roma.
Roma’s draw against Sassuolo earlier today meant whoever won this Scudetto showdown would close to just one point from the leaders. Giorgio Chiellini, Martin Caceres, Mirko Vucinic, Stephan Lichtsteiner and Simone Pepe were out for the hosts, so Angelo Ogbonna received a rare start. Carlos Tevez faced his fellow countryman Gonzalo Higuain with Lorenzo Insigne picked ahead of Dries Mertens. Giandomenico Mesto and Juan Camilo Zuniga are long-term absentees.
In the opening minute Pepe Reina clawed away a Paul Pogba effort, but from that corner Carlos Tevez hit a backheel flick that Fernando Llorente tapped in from six yards. However, replays show the Spaniard was marginally offside, as his foot and knee were over.
Reina needed a spectacular reaction save to deny Leonardo Bonucci’s header from point-blank range after Pogba had knocked it down.
The first Napoli chance didn’t arrive until the 22nd minute, when Insigne tested Gigi Buffon at the near post. Moments later Higuain turned Ogbonna to fire just wide, while Reina only beat away a fierce Tevez snapshot from distance.
Kwadwo Asamoah only hit the side-netting with his left-foot half-volley, while Insigne twisted and turned between defenders in the box and his finish flashed across the face of goal.
Llorente got in front of Raul Albiol for a diving header that Reina did well to save, but Insigne unleashed a sudden screamer that dipped on to the roof of the net. Buffon’s facial expression suggested he was not expecting that.
After the restart, Buffon flew to fingertip an Insigne free kick round the near post and Reina smothered a Tevez header. Reina spilled an Arturo Vidal effort from distance and the Tevez follow-up was straight at him.
Marek Hamsik’s first touch let him down in the box after great work from Jose Callejon. Moments later a Pablo Armero cross was knocked on by Ogbonna and Hamsik only blasted it on to the side-netting.
Vidal also wasted a golden opportunity, as he combined with Tevez only to side-foot inches wide from six yards.
Juventus doubled their lead with a trademark Andrea Pirlo free kick, as it lifted over the wall and dipped suddenly just under the bar, where Reina could not reach. It was his third of the Serie A season, all of them free kicks.
Napoli weren’t out of it yet, as Buffon needed a one-handed reaction save to keep out Insigne at the near post from six yards.
However, moments later Pogba put the game to bed with a scorching strike! He flicked up the ball on his ankle and watched it fall for a spectacular right-foot volley from 23 metres. It was clocked at 101km/h (63mph) and went in off the inside of the upright.
Juventus ended the game with 10 men, as Ogbonna received his second yellow card for stopping a Dries Mertens counter-attack. Buffon kept the clean sheet intact with saves on Mertens, Federico Fernandez and Higuain late on.
Sent off: Ogbonna 82 (J)