Serie A

Llorente double avoids upset

rescue act
Llorente of Juventus celebrates with team-mates after scoring their equalizer.
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Juventus came from behind to win 4-1 at Cagliari and maintain its eight-point advantage over second-place Roma, which beat 10-man Genoa 4-0 in Serie A on Sunday with a stunning goal by Alessandro Florenzi.

Napoli beat high-flying Hellas Verona 3-0 to keep up the pressure on the top two.

Stephan Lichtsteiner set up two goals and scored the fourth in Sardinia as the match changed in the space of eight second-half minutes. Mauricio Pinilla had given Cagliari the lead but was sent off three minutes from time for dissent.

It is the first time Juventus has won 11 consecutive league games and Antonio Conte's team is firmly on course for a third successive title.

''It's an extraordinary achievement,'' Juventus coach Antonio Conte said. ''The fact in the entire history of Juventus, no team managed it, fills us with pride and satisfaction. I've thanked the lads, sometimes you don't even manage to enjoy these moments.

''My job now is to try and extend this positive streak, everyone will be trying to stop us.''

Earlier, Fiorentina was held to a 0-0 draw at Torino. Also, Atalanta beat Catania 2-1.

Juventus came into the game full of confidence after crushing Roma for its 10th consecutive win and going eight points clear at the top of the table.

However, it was stunned in the 21st minute when, following a short corner, Andrea Cossu's cross was deflected to an unmarked Pinilla on the far side of the area and he gave Cagliari a surprise lead.

Cagliari should have doubled its advantage shortly after but Daniele Conti headed a corner over the bar.

Fernando Llorente headed Lichtsteiner's cross in to level the game in the 31st but Cagliari almost immediately restored its lead as Daniele Dessena's diving header was kept out by a fantastic Gianluigi Buffon save with his right leg from point-blank range.

Juventus was struggling against an attack-minded Cagliari and Antonio Conte brought on Claudio Marchisio in the 66th minute.

The Italy midfielder took just seven minutes before giving Juventus the lead with an effort from outside the area which Cagliari goalkeeper Antonio Adan got a hand to but could not prevent going in.

Llorente scored his second of the match minutes later when he slotted home Lichsteiner's low ball across the area.


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Lichsteiner got on the scoresheet in the 80th minute. Adan fumbled Llorente's weak shot and Lichsteiner followed up to seal the match.

In the capital, Roma broke the deadlock in the 26th minute when Franesco Totti's free kick was deflected up into the air and Florenzi kept his eye on the descending ball before sending it into the bottom right corner with a fantastic overhead kick.

The home side doubled its lead four minutes later when Totti's low drive was deflected into the near corner.

Florenzi turned provider shortly before halftime with a looping cross which Maicon slotted home.

Roma extended its lead still further when defender Mehdi Benatia headed in his fifth goal of the season.

Genoa was then reduced to 10 men when Francelino Matuzalem was given a second yellow card for gesturing toward the Roma fans as he was walking off the field to be substituted.

''The squad responded well, it was the right match for us,'' Roma coach Rudi Garcia said. ''We pressed very well and then Alessandro Florenzi scored that great goal. We also saw the captain rediscover his form.


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''It's a record for Roma to get 44 points in 19 rounds, but now we have to keep going like this.''

Napoli remained 10 points behind Juventus after inflicting Verona's second home defeat of the season.

Verona started brightly and almost got off to the perfect start but Luca Toni blasted over from eight yards.

Napoli took the lead in the 27th minute when Dries Mertens squeezed a shot in between two defenders which came off the bottom of the far post.

The visitors doubled their advantage in the 72nd when Lorenzo Insigne tapped in Christian Maggio's cross. It was the first goal scored by an Italian for Napoli this season.

Verona tried to get back into the game but was caught again on the counter by Napoli. Inisgne's effort was saved by Rafael but Blerim Dzemaili was on hand to fire home the rebound.

Fiorentina slipped five points behind Napoli and the last Champions League berth after it struggled against Torino, with star strikers Giuseppe Rossi and Mario Gomez both out with serious knee injuries.

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