Higuain scores hat trick in 7-goal Juventus rout
ROME (AP) — Gonzalo Higuain scored a hat trick as Juventus swept past Sassuolo 7-0 on Sunday to strengthen its pursuit of a seventh straight Serie A title.
Sami Khedira netted twice for the hosts while Alex Sandro and Miralem Pjanic were also on target for the Bianconeri, who won their seventh successive league match.
Still, Juventus remained one point behind leader Napoli, which won a regional derby 2-0 at last-placed Benevento. Lazio, which hosts Genoa on Monday, is third — 14 points behind Napoli.
“Compliments to the lads for how they handled the match,” Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri said. “We can’t allow ourselves any missteps considering the speed that Napoli is traveling at.”
Alex Sandro scored from eight meters (yards) in the ninth minute after the ball bounced around inside the area.
Khedira was then left unmarked to tap in at the far post following a corner that was flicked on by Alex Sandro.
The German international scored his second by beating the offside trap and shooting past goalkeeper Andrea Consigli before Pjanic made it 4-0 before halftime with a shot from distance.
Higuain’s first goal came from a long-range shot before the Argentina international poked the ball into an empty net after dribbling round Consigli.
He then added his third goal with a delicate chip over the goalkeeper.
The only sour note for Juventus came when Blaise Matuidi had to go off in the first half.
Napoli remained nearly perfect away from home, winning its 11th of 12 matches played on the road this season.
Napoli’s only slight misstep was a 0-0 draw at Chievo Verona in November.
Dries Mertens scored with a delightful lob from a sharp angle early on, then turned provider when Napoli captain Marek Hamsik doubled the lead with a tap in shortly after the break.
Benevento then had a penalty kick attempt waved off for offside by the video assistant referee.
Cengiz Under scored after 43 seconds as 10-man Roma ended a five-match winless streak with a 1-0 victory at Hellas Verona to climb within one point of fourth-placed Inter Milan.
The Turkey international finished off a solo effort with a shot from the edge of the area.
Roma’s Lorenzo Pellegrini was shown a straight red card early in the second half for a sliding tackle from behind on Ryder Matos.
Around 20 Roma fans were picked up by police for their alleged involvement in brief clashes with Verona supporters outside the stadium before the match.
MILAN SEES RED
Ten-man AC Milan drew 1-1 at Udinese after the visitors were handed a league-high sixth red card of the season.
Suso put Milan ahead after nine minutes with a spectacular effort from 30 meters into the top corner.
Midway through the second half, however, Milan fullback Davide Calabria was shown his second yellow card for fouling Jakub Jankto.
Eight minutes later, Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma put through his own net after a cross from Kevin Lasagna deflected off defender Leonardo Bonucci.
Seventh-placed Atalanta beat Chievo Verona 1-0 thanks to Gianluca Mancini’s first Serie A goal.
Federico Chiesa scored a fine individual goal as Fiorentina won 2-1 at Bologna. Goalkeeping errors led to both opening goals, by Jordan Veretout for the Viola and Erick Pulgar for Bologna.
Cagliari beat relegation-threatened Spal 2-0 with goals from Luca Cigarini and Marco Sau.
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