Soccer

Defending champion Juventus beats Fiorentina to extend lead

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Associated Press
2/9/2013 5:35:31 PM
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MILAN, Italy -- Defending champion Juventus beat Fiorentina 2-0 in the Serie A on Saturday to extend its advantage at the top of the table to five points after second-placed Napoli drew 1-1 at Lazio.

Mirko Vucinic gave Juventus the lead in the 20th minute with a powerful effort under the bar following a poor clearance by Gonzalo Rodriguez.

Alessandro Matri doubled Juve's lead shortly before the break, scoring his third successive goal in unusual circumstances, as the striker's boot had already fallen off before he struck the ball.

"My boot fell off just before the goal, as someone had trodden on the back of my foot," Matri said. "I scored in my socks. Oh well, it turned out for the best."

Juventus coach Antonio Conte and defender Leonardo Bonucci were sitting out bans for insulting a referee.

The result was a timely boost for Juventus, three days before its Champions League match at Celtic.

In Rome, Lazio started the brighter and broke the deadlock after 11 minutes. Abdoullay Konko raced down the right flank before crossing for Sergio Floccari to chest down and pick his spot, firing home from 10 yards.

Stefano Mauri had to go off injured after accidentally stepping on the ball while celebrating and spraining his ankle.

Floccari, who has scored five in his past six matches, could have doubled Lazio's lead but his fierce effort thumped off the post.

Edinson Cavani also hit the woodwork, when his header from a Juan Camilo Zuniga cross, crashed off the underside of the crossbar, bounced onto the line and out to safety.

Lazio had the ball in the back of the net again five minutes after the restart but Giuseppe Biava was clearly offside.

Napoli rescued a point three minutes from time with a spectacular volley from Hugo Campagnaro.

There was still time for Floccari to again hit the woodwork, heading Antonio Candreva's cross onto the bar as both sides strove for the winner.

While Napoli lost ground on Juve, it remained six points ahead of third-placed Lazio.

"It's a really important point," Napoli coach Walter Mazzarri said. "It's not easy to win against Lazio. They hit us hard right from the beginning and several of my players didn't start on the right foot. For that reason, it wasn't easy to come out with a positive result.

"I don't know what was going through the players' heads. But several only arrived yesterday after playing for their countries, some after travelling from other continents and I think that counted more than anything else. Lazio had less (players back from international duties) and it was playing at home. They came off negative results and they started better than us."

Mirko Vucinic (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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