Juventus eased to their third straight Serie A victory after Moise Kean and Angel Di Maria struck in a 2-0 victory at relegation-threatened Spezia on Sunday.
Spezia sacked coach Luca Gotti in midweek and saw some improvements, yet Massimiliano Allegri’s team still triumphed at Stadio Alberto Picco.
Kean’s deadly 32nd-minute finish sent the visiting Juve on their way before substitute Di Maria drilled home in the second period to seal the three points.
Victory moved Juve to seventh, albeit nine points behind sixth-placed Atalanta and a place in Europe next season, while Spezia remain two above the relegation zone.
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Dusan Vlahovic saw a cool finish ruled out for offside in a slow opening, while Danilo nodded narrowly wide after Spezia lost goalkeeper Bartlomiej Dragowski to an apparent hip injury.
Juve capitalised soon after as Filip Kostic’s left-wing cross found Kean, who calmly swept a left-footed finish into the bottom-right corner past Federico Marchetti.
Eldor Shomurodov nodded just off target and Emmanuel Gyasi was unable to get the required touch on a bouncing ball past Mattia Perin as the struggling hosts looked to respond.
Kean headed a glorious chance from Alex Sandro’s delivery wide after the interval before Danilo thwarted Shomurodov with a last-ditch block.
Di Maria, brought on for Kean, ended any hope of a Spezia fightback as he lashed low into the bottom-right corner from outside the area after 66 minutes.
Perrin produced an expert stop to deny Gyasi’s ferocious effort as Juve held out for another triumph.
What does it mean? Juve continue to recover
With a Coppa Italia semi-final against Inter in April and hopes of a Europa League run, Allegri’s side still have a chance of salvaging their season after their 15-point deduction last month.
Italy’s top six may prove a step too far but Juve continue to recover after winning their sixth straight Serie A clash with Spezia, who have not scored at home in the league since a 2-2 draw with Atalanta on January 4.
If the Bianconeri can edge past Nantes in their Europa League play-off second leg, with the tie level at 1-1, Juve will be able to take pride in their response to the punishments.
Kostic continues to impress after signing from Eintracht Frankfurt in August, with yet another pinpoint assist coming from the left-hand side.
The Serbia international has created nine goals in all competitions this season, only Napoli’s in-form Khvicha Kvaratskhelia (12) has managed more assists among Serie A players.
Defensive solidity key for Juve
Juve have kept a clean sheet in four of their six league victories over Spezia, with the defensive resilience of Allegri’s men a notable factor this season.
The Bianconeri have won the most Serie A games this term without their defence being breached (14), the last time they managed more shutouts after 23 league games was in the 1977-78 campaign (16).
Juve visit Nantes in the aforementioned European clash on Thursday, before hosting fierce rivals Torino five days later in Serie A.
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