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Juventus 1 Genoa 0: Champions keep the heat on Napoli with record 13th straight win

SoccerNews in Serie A 3 Feb 2016

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Juventus’ 1-0 win over Genoa on Wednesday secured a record 13th consecutive Serie A victory, but Napoli’s success against Lazio keeps the champions second in the race for the Scudetto.

Juan Cuadrado – making his first league start since December 20 – was pivotal in the only goal of the game as his endeavour down the right led to a deflected cross deceiving Mattia Perin half an hour in.

Sebastian De Maio was the unfortunate party credited with the own goal and, while his Genoa team-mates made life difficult for the hosts in spells, Gian Piero Gasperini’s men remain without a win in Turin since 1991.

Injuries in either half to Patrice Evra and Martin Caceres dampened a hard-fought win for Massimiliano Allegri as did substitute Simone Zaza’s straight red card for a wild challenge on Armando Izzo.

The Juve boss will likely be forced into changes for Sunday’s clash with Frosinone, which comes ahead of Napoli’s visit in 10 days.

Having seen Sami Khedira join their injury list with a thigh complaint picked up against Chievo, Juve brought Simone Padoin, Cuadrado and Evra into their XI.

Stephan Lichtsteiner and Alex Sandro dropped to the bench, while Alessio Cerci replaced Diego Perrotti following his move to Roma.

Paulo Dybala had the best effort of the opening stages with a long-range strike flying wide of Perin’s left-hand post 12 minutes in.

Blerim Dzemaili then dragged a shot off target from a similar distance to prompt a strong spell of Genoa pressure that was punctured by Cuadrado’s opener.

The Colombian skipped past Izzo towards the byline before seeing his cross deflect off De Maio and past Perin to ease any nerves around the Juventus Stadium, with Napoli already 2-0 up in Rome.

Alex Sandro was brought on for the injured Evra shortly before half-time and Juve were almost hauled level within a minute of the restart as a Cerci’s drive was awkwardly dealt with by Gianluigi Buffon.

Gasperini’s men grew in confidence and had the better of the play before the hour mark, Allegri responding by replacing Alvaro Morata with Zaza eight minutes into the second half.

The substitute should have doubled Juve’s lead against the run of play with his first touch, but shot straight at Perin when played clean through on goal by Dybala.

Genoa proved stubborn to break down and Juve were frustrated further with a second injury-enforced change after Caceres landed on his ankle inside the final 30 minutes.

Zaza’s mindless challenge on Izzo in the first minute of stoppage time made life harder for the hosts, but Juve – whose win set a record for consecutive league victories in a single season – had enough to see out the win as they remained two points behind Napoli.

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