Florence:Six-time defending Italian-league champion Juventus has provisionally moved into first place with a 2-0 victory over Fiorentina here.
The win at Artemio Franchi Stadium on Friday was Juve’s eighth straight in Serie A, reports Efe.
The Turin club’s defence also remained virtually impenetrable, with Massimiliano Allegri’s men having surrendered just one goal in their last 16 matches following this latest shutout.
The visitors, however, struggled throughout the first half, failing to create any danger on one end while fending off attacking forays by Fiorentina down both wings.
That pressure nearly led to a penalty attempt in the 18th minute, when Giorgio Chiellini was called for a hand ball, although the VAR (video assistant referee) overruled the decision and instead signalled the home squad for offside.
Later, Fiorentina’s Gil Dias broke free and got off a powerful shot that slammed off the woodwork in the 38th minute.
But the home side’s energy began to wane early in the second half and it ended up paying for that drop in intensity when Federico Bernardeschi, a product of Fiorentina’s youth system, scored on an outstanding free kick in the 56th minute.
The Florence club pushed forward in search of the equaliser, but its best chance of the second half was denied when goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, who was playing in his 500th Serie A game for Juventus, stopped a shot by Cyril Thereau.
Gonzalo Higuain then gave Juve an insurance goal in the 86th minute by scoring on a one-on-one opportunity against Fiorentina net minder Marco Sportiello.
Juventus (62 points) now heads into the first leg of its February 13 Champions League round-of-16 clash against England’s Tottenham Hotspur with some confidence, having followed up its 7-0 rout of Sassuolo on Sunday with yet another league win.
Napoli (60 points), however, can move back into first place in Serie A when it takes on Lazio on Saturday. Fiorentina (31 points) is currently 11th in Serie A with 24 of 38 matches played.