Juventus joined AC Milan at the top
of Serie A but failed to get the win they needed to end the year
clear in Serie A after a disappointing 0-0 draw at title rivals
Udinese on Wednesday as Napoli hit six against Genoa.
Juventus, who defeated Milan 2-0 at home earlier in the
season, are level with the champions on 34 points from 16
matches but with a worse goal difference. Udinese are third on
In the remaining round of matches postponed from the opening
day of the season because of a players' strike, Lazio stayed
fourth on 30 points but continued their poor home form with a
goalless draw against mid-table Chievo Verona.
Resurgent Inter Milan came back from a goal down at home to
Lecce to claim a 4-1 victory, their fourth league win in a row,
and move four points behind Lazio in fifth.
After Inter hit the woodwork four times, Giampaolo Pazzini
equalised with his third goal of the season at the near post
after 34 minutes.
Substitute Diego Milito gave Inter the lead
with a cool 49th-minute finish before Esteban Cambiasso and
Ricky Alvarez wrapped things up late on.
Napoli reacted to Sunday's home defeat by Roma with a
spectacular first half display to blow away Genoa and remain
joint sixth on 24 points.
The absence of Argentine forward Ezequiel Lavezzi was hardly
noticed as Edinson Cavani grabbed a brace with Marek Hamsik and
Goran Pandev also scoring in a devastating opening period.
Uruguayan midfielder Walter Gargano and Colombian Zuniga
added more goals after the break in the 6-1 win.
AS Roma's good away form continued at Bologna as first half
goals from Rodrigo Taddei and Pablo Osvaldo gave Luis Enrique's
side an easy 2-0 win to keep pace with Napoli.
A goal five minutes from time by Andrea Catellani earned
Catania a 3-3 draw at Parma who had led 3-1 up.
Palermo's new coach Bortolo Mutti saw a debut victory slip
from his hands as Novara came back from two goals down to draw
2-2 with Marco Rigoni equalising six minutes from time.
Atalanta, whose name was once again mentioned in connection
to a match-fixing scandal this week, cheered up home fans with a
convincing 4-1 win over lowly Cesena, climbing to 11th.
In freezing conditions in Udine, Juventus had the best
chances of a tight game with Claudio Marchisio shooting just
wide 10 minutes before the break and substitute Fabio
Quagliarella going close with two snapshots late on as Juve
headed for the winter break still unbeaten.
Gianluigi Buffon blocked Udinese's best chance from Chilean
winger Mauricio Isla early on with the draw ending Udinese's 100
percent home record.
Juventus coach Antonio Conte cut a contented figure.
"There are draws and draws and we've now played against five
of the top six sides away from home," he told Italy Sky Sport
channel. "We're unbeaten and I'm happy.
"If someone had told me in July that we would finish the
year without losing I would have thought he was mad.
"You need to prepare for games thoroughly and not give an
inch of space away and I think this is the secret why we are
unbeaten. Fortunately Juventus are once again a team that is
respected and who everyone wants to beat."
Udinese coach Francesco Guidolin, who was sent from the
dugout for protesting at the end, complained about the fixture
overload after playing against Lazio at the weekend and Celtic
in the Europa League last Thursday.
"We've played three games - three finals - in six days in
polar conditions," he told Sky Sport channel. "If this is the
future of football then fine but it will obviously affect
players' energy levels.
"Maybe Juve had a few more chances but it was an even game.
I'd say Juve and Milan are the best teams we have faced this
Milan won 2-0 at Cagliari on Tuesday.
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