Juventus shows dominance with 2-0 win at AC Milan
ROME (AP) — Fernando Llorente and Carlos Tevez scored either side of halftime as Juventus asserted its dominance in Serie A with a 2-0 win at AC Milan on Sunday.
Striding toward its third consecutive title, the victory moved Juventus 11 points ahead of second-place Roma.
“Only a tank could stop Juventus,” new Milan coach Clarence Seedorf said. “They showed their strength and Tevez provided the difference. He’s a great player.”
Milan, which was starting to gain momentum under Seedorf, dropped to 10th, six points adrift of the European places.
Milan started strongly with Kaka and Andrea Poli threatening in the first half but Juve took control when Llorente collected a pass from Stephan Lichtsteiner in the 44th to score from the edge of the box and highlight Milan’s porous defense.
Then in the 68th, Tevez was left alone to find the target with a shot from 25 meters (yards) that crashed in off the underside of the crossbar. It was Tevez’s 15th goal of the season, putting him atop the Italian league’s scoring chart, one ahead of Fiorentina’s Giuseppe Rossi, who has been out injured since January.
Milan sorely missed Mario Balotelli, who is still recovering from a right shoulder injury. Making matters worse, midfielder Poli was taken to the hospital after getting hit in the face during a collision with Juventus defender Martin Caceres in the 51st.
Earlier, third-placed Napoli was held to a 1-1 draw at relegation-threatened Livorno without its standout forward Gonzalo Higuain.
Belgium midfielder Dries Mertens converted a penalty for Napoli in the 31st but Livorno equalized when a backheel effort from its 19-year-old Senegalese defender Mbaye Ibrahima resulted in an own-goal by Napoli goalkeeper Pepe Reina in the 39th.
Still, Napoli moved seven points ahead of fourth-placed Fiorentina in the race for the final Champions League spot.
Fiorentina, which was missing two key suspended midfielders in Borja Valero and David Pizarro, lost 1-0 at home to Lazio. Also, the Tuscan squad’s coach Vincenzo Montella served a touchline ban following the fallout from Monday’s 2-2 draw at Parma, which featured three red cards.
Albanian midfielder Lorik Cana scored for Lazio five minutes in with a bicycle kick.
Livorno moved level with Chievo Verona third from bottom, with the last three clubs destined for Serie B at the end of the season.
Higuain is among the Serie A leaders with 13 goals but was suspended for this match. His replacement, Goran Pandev, earned Napoli’s penalty with what appeared to be minimal contact from Livorno defender Federico Ceccherini, leading to protests from the hosts.
Elsewhere, Parma beat 10-man Sassuolo 1-0 with a second-minute goal from Marco Parolo to move level with Hellas Verona in sixth place — one point behind Inter Milan and the Europa League zone.
Verona goalkeeper Rafael saved a 47th-minute penalty from Rolando Bianchi in a 0-0 draw at home with Bologna.
Also, Sampdoria won 2-0 at Torino with goals from Stefano Okaka and Manolo Gabbiadini; Atalanta beat 10-man Chievo Verona 2-1 after strikes by Carlos Carmona in the 21st and a winner from Luca Cigarini in the 85th; and Genoa beat 10-man Catania 2-0 with goals from Luca Antonelli and Stefano Sturaro.
Earlier in the lunchtime fixture, Cagliari kept its focus to beat visiting Udinese 3-0 amid speculation that the Sardinian club could be sold.
Colombian forward Victor Ibarbo put Cagliari ahead in the 18th, Uruguayan midfielder Matias Vecino doubled the lead in the 81st and Macedonian midfielder Agim Ibraimi found the target in the 89th.
Udinese captain Antonio Di Natale threatened several times in the first half, hitting the crossbar with a deflected shot on one occasion.
The victory moved Cagliari level with Udinese in 14th place.
Cagliari president Massimo Cellino attended the match, his first stadium appearance since January. Fans greeted him with chants of “We want a president.”
Eleonora Sport Ltd., which is run by the Cellino family, is on the verge of taking over a 75 percent stake in fallen English power Leeds, leading many to believe Cellino is losing interest in Cagliari, which has been beset by stadium troubles.