A first-half goal from Simone
Pepe sent Juventus back to the top of Serie A on Saturday as
they edged third-placed Lazio 1-0 in an entertaining encounter
at the Stadio Olimpico.
Pepe stroked home the winner after 34 minutes to take
unbeaten Juve, who have played one game less than most of their
rivals, a point clear of Udinese and three ahead of Lazio.
"It was a hard-fought win that showed the character we have
and how much we have matured," coach Antonio Conte told Sky
"There is much still to improve but we are moving in the
right direction. We now have a difficult game at Napoli on
Napoli climbed to seventh after an Edinson Cavani strike
deep into stoppage-time earned a 1-1 draw at Atalanta who had
taken a 64th-minute lead thanks to German Denis's 10th league
goal of the campaign.
Catania moved up to sixth with a 1-0 at Lecce while
struggling Novara came back from a goal down to beat Parma 2-1
and record their second league win this season.
Juve, wearing pink jerseys, began brightly and should have
been a goal to the good after 10 minutes when Claudio Marchisio
headed over from close range following a brilliant run and cross
from former Lazio right-back Stephan Lichtsteiner.
Six minutes later hosts Lazio had Federico Marchetti to
thank for keeping the scores level after the goalkeeper changed
direction at the last moment to palm away a viciously swerving
Andrea Pirlo free-kick.
Lazio, with Tommaso Rocchi preferred to Djibril Cisse as
Miroslav Klose's partner in attack, hit back after 21 minutes as
Rocchi and Cristian Ledesma just missed the target.
With the game flowing from one end to the other it was Juve
who made the breakthrough after a lightning counter-attack.
Seconds after Gianluigi Buffon saved from Rocchi, Mirko
Vucinic released Alessandro Matri down the right and the Italian
striker's perfect centre was slotted into the corner by the
Brazilian playmaker Hernanes wasted two good openings as
Lazio attacked at the start of the second period before he
smashed a left-footer against the upright on the hour with
Seconds later the Italy keeper flung himself to his left to
turn aside a deflected Klose effort.
Juve weathered the storm and almost doubled the lead after
73 minutes when Marchetti reacted well to save from substitute
Matri then flashed a half-volley wide with eight minutes to
go as the visitors eased to their seventh win in 11 league
Lazio, who suffered their second defeat of the campaign,
felt they should have had a first-half penalty.
"We showed we are at the same level as Juve but just
couldn't take our chances," said coach Edy Reja.
"It was an even game, we had our chances and should have had
a penalty in the first half with a clear handball on Rocchi's
shot. They then scored immediately so it turned out to be a
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