Juve edge Lazio to stay unbeaten
© AFP

Unbeaten Juventus edged Lazio 1-0 at the Stadio Olimpico tonight to go one point clear at the top of the Serie A standings.

Simone Pepe scored the only goal of the game in the 34th minute as the Turin giants extended their great run of form for another week. The result allowed Antonio Conte's Juve to leapfrog Udinese into first place.

Juventus had the first chance of the match in the tenth minute. Former Lazio player Stephan Lichtsteiner crossed the ball towards the far post and Claudio Marchisio's close-range header went over the bar.

Juve almost went in front soon after, though, as Lazio goalkeeper Federico Marchetti parried away Andrea Pirlo's curled free-kick only as far as Lichtsteiner, who fired wide from a good position.

At the other end, Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon kept out Tommaso Rocchi's shot from the heart of the area.  Juventus then took the lead. A fast counter-attack from the visitors saw Matri cross to an unmarked Pepe, who struck the ball from ten yards past Marchetti.

The visitors almost doubled their lead before half-time. Pepe beat the offside trap and surged towards the area but was unable to beat Marchetti in a one-on-one battle.

Lazio pressed forward more aggressively after the restart and in the 50th minute, Lichtsteiner made a crucial tackle with Hernanes ready to fire from close range.

The hosts were unlucky not to equalise on the hour mark when Hernanes' drive from outside the area beat Buffon but struck the woodwork. Seconds later, Buffon punched away Miroslav Klose's goal-bound effort.

In the 73rd minute, Marchetti kept Lazio in the game as he kept out substitute Emanuele Giaccherini's eight-yard strike. With seven minutes remaining, Alessandro Matri almost killed the game off but his powerful strike from 25 yards was denied by the post.

At the other end, substitute Djibril Cisse's weak header proved an easy catch for Buffon and Lazio looked tired in the closing stages as their run of nine games without defeat came to an end.