Juve see off Atalanta
© AFP

Juventus secured their place at the top of Serie A at the midway stage of the season with a 2-0 win over Atalanta in Bergamo. After a one-sided first half in which Juve tried everything to score, they opened the scoring in the 55th minute through Stephan Lichtsteiner. Substitute Emanuele Giaccherini added a second eight minutes from time as Antonio Conti's side opened up a four-point advantage over AC Milan at the top of the table.

Juventus hit the woodwork twice in a first half in which the ball just would not go in, despite their monumental efforts. Alessandro Matri missed the first chance in the third minute, lifting his shot over the crossbar from six yards out before Simone Pepe placed his shot wide of the far post five minutes later.

Andrea Barzagli hit the left-hand post with a good shot on the turn in the 11th minute and Mirko Vucinic's shot was saved moments later as the Bianconeri laid siege to the Atalanta goal. Shots were raining in from everywhere, including an Arturo Vidal effort from fully 30 yards which cannoned back off the crossbar.

Juve finally break through
With such an elevated number of missed chances, Juve could have been forgiven for thinking it was not going to be their night, but Lichtsteiner finally broke the deadlock ten minutes into the second half. Andrea Pirlo lifted the ball to the far post where the Swiss full-back guided it inside the post with a low header.

Matri missed the chance to make it two in the 62nd minute when he lifted the ball over Andrea Consigli but wide of the far post. At the other end, Atalanta's top goalscorer German Denis was adamant that Giorgio Chiellini had pulled his shirt as he went down inside the area, still managing to get a shot in on goal as he went down.

Juve, who had eased off a little after scoring, sensed that one goal may not actually be enough and they started to attack again.They got the goal to settle their nerves in the 82nd minute when Luca Marrone lifted the ball up into the area and Giaccherini took it on the volley to beat Consigli and seal the win for Juve.