Juventus topples Livorno to restore 8-point lead
ROME (AP) — Fernando Llorente scored twice in the space of three minutes and Juventus restored its eight-point lead atop Serie A with a 2-0 win over relegation-threatened Livorno on Monday.
Also, AC Milan won 2-1 at Genoa for its third straight victory with goals from wingers Adel Taarabt and Keisuke Honda, who scored for the first time in the Italian league.
At the Juventus Stadium, Llorente struck first 32 minutes in, holding off a defender before launching in a difficult shot from an angle. His second came on a header following a corner from Andrea Pirlo, which Livorno’s 22-year-old goalkeeper Francesco Bardi got his hands on but couldn’t stop.
It was a much-needed boost for Juventus to maintain its advantage over second-place Roma, which has won six straight and hosts Juventus in the penultimate round.
”The title-race is still open – wide open,” Juventus manager Antonio Conte said. ”We have a challenger that is not giving up a centimeter and in our heads we need to think that Roma could win all six matches that remain, including the match against us. So we’ve got to stay focused and pay full attention.”
With its 16th straight home win, Juventus matched the Serie A record set by city rival Torino in 1947-48.
With six games remaining, Livorno remained third from bottom, two points behind Chievo Verona and Bologna, with the bottom three to be relegated.
Milan, which has earned 10 points in its last four matches, moved level with Torino in 10th.
Taarabt, the Morocco midfielder who is on loan from Queens Park Rangers, scored with a bouncing shot in the 20th from beyond the area. Then Honda finished off a counterattack by chipping in a shot over charging Genoa goalkeeper Mattia Perin.
Honda, a key member of Japan’s World Cup squad, joined Milan from CSKA Moscow in January. He has also scored one goal in the Italian Cup.
Marco Motta pulled one back for Genoa in the 73rd with a difficult shot and the hosts then pressed for an equalizer. Milan goalkeeper Christian Abbiati preserved the lead with a diving save on a shot from Stefano Sturaro in the 75th and defender Philippe Mexes cleared a shot off the line with a header seconds later.
Nursing a cold, Mario Balotelli played only the final 16 minutes.
Genoa remained 13th.