Juve rout Pescara to extend lead
Fabio Quagliarella struck his first hat-trick of the season and Kwadwo Asamoah his maiden goal as Juventus extended their lead at the top of Serie A Saturday with a 6-1 rout of Pescara.
Juventus now lead Inter Milan in Italy by four points ahead of the Nerazzurri's trip to Atalanta on Sunday, with Napoli third and Fiorentina fourth ahead of their respective games.
Inter threw a spanner into Juve's bid for a potentially more comfortable title defence last week with a 3-1 away win in Turin which stopped Juve's impressive unbeaten streak at 49 games. That setback proved the spur for Juve's 4-0 rout of Danish champions Nordsjaelland in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday, and the Old Lady of Turin maintained the momentum in a one-sided affair on Saturday.
Pescara began their 12th game of the season languishing in 14th place and it took only nine minutes for the hosts to begin staring at a potential seventh defeat of the campaign. Chilean international Arturo Vidal opened the scoring when he pounced on a poor clearance from Antonio Bocchetti to beat goalkeeper Mattia Perin in the Pescara goal.
Juve doubled their lead in the 22nd minute when Quagliarella finished off a move initiated by Sebastian Giovinco with a low strike from the edge of the area. Pescara, however, reduced arrears three minutes later when Emmanuel Cascione sent a brilliant header from Matti Lund Nielsen's perfect cross just past the fingertips of a diving Gianluigi Buffon.
But Juve were firmly back in control when Ghanaian Asamoah sent an overhead kick past Perin after Quagliarella's back-heel pass from Vidal's cross had gone airborne. The vistiors piled on the first half agony with a fourth when Giovinco brilliantly finished off a one-two with Quagliarella to beat Perin with a volley.
And it got worse for the hosts moments before half-time when Quagliarella found space in deep to beat Perin for his brace. Quagliarella secured his third goal in spectacular fashion when, as he stood with his back to goal, he brilliantly turned Andrea Pirlo's corner from the right past Perin.
Pescara's only significant reaction came from the touchline, when coach Giovanni Stroppa was red-carded for protesting excessively.
Saturday's early game finished with no goals as Cagliari and Catania failed to hit the high notes.