Juventus Go Fifth With Fourth Consecutive Win
Massimiliano Allegri’s men are now just six points adrift of leaders Inter after recording their fourth consecutive Serie A win
Juventus continued their recent revival with a 3-0 win away at Palermo on Sunday night to move up to fifth place in Serie A.
Mario Mandzukic, Stefano Sturaro and substitute Simone Zaza scored after the interval to record their fourth straight league win and move within six points of leaders Inter, who visit Napoli on Monday.
Allegri has faced criticism for selecting Mandzukic over Alvaro Morata in recent weeks, but the former Atletico Madrid man scored the winner against Manchester City on Wednesday and kept his place again.
The striker set Juve on their way nine minutes after the restart following impressive work from former Rosanero favourite Paulo Dybala – who was making his first return to Palermo since his close-season move to Turin.
Davide Ballardini’s reign at Palermo began with a draw at Lazio last week but he saw Juve pull away late on as Sturaro and Zaza ensured a somewhat flattering scoreline for Allegri’s team, who are now six games unbeaten in all competitions.
Palermo began on the front foot and saw Gaston Brugman and Oscar Hiljemark fire over the crossbar from range early on while Juve struggled for impetus.
Mandzukic almost put the visitors ahead against the run of play when he came close to converting Sturaro’s deep cross 11 minutes in.
Allegri brought Juan Cuadrado and Patrice Evra into his XI from midweek and saw his side build momentum. Giorgio Chiellini headed wide before Paul Pogba picked up a yellow card for a late challenge on Hiljemark – ruling the Frenchman out of Friday’s clash with Lazio.
Alberto Gilardino flashed a shot across goal prior to the half-hour mark for the hosts before Leonardo Bonucci headed wide at the other end as the game opened up before half-time.
However, neither side managed a first-half shot on target and that lack of quality continued in the second period as Pogba sliced a shot wide from distance.
But Juve eventually went ahead in the 54th minute as Dybala produced a rare moment of quality to curl a pinpoint left-footed cross for Mandzukic to head home.
The Croatian now has three goals in his last four Juve games, but Allegri still opted to replace him with Morata seven minutes after the hour.
Cuadrado was brought off soon after as Allegri sought to close out the victory following decent efforts from Aleksandar Trajkovski and Achraf Lazaar.
But when Pogba played in Sturaro with 89 minutes on the clock, the midfielder calmly rolled home his first goal since May before Zaza got in on the act with a well-taken third shortly after replacing Dybala.