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Juventus beats Lazio to extend lead at top of Serie A

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Associated Press
4/15/2013 5:16:27 PM
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ROME -- Juventus maintained its march to a 29th Serie A title as it beat Lazio 2-0 on Monday to move 11 points clear at the top of the table, with Arturo Vidal scoring both goals to end his drought.

Vidal opened the scoring after just eight minutes, converting from the penalty spot after Lorik Cana brought down Claudio Marchisio.

The Chile international hadn't scored since November, but doubled his tally in the 28th.

As it stands, Juventus can clinch the title on May 5, at home to Palermo.

"This win is a very, very important win which allows us to put another huge brick on the road to the title," Juventus coach Antonio Conte said. "I have a really great affection for these lads, to whom I will always be very grateful.

"They have always followed me, allowing me to win the title last year and to arrive close to the second one this year. But we still need seven points and until we have something in our hands, we won't talk about it."

The loss is also a dent to Lazio's hopes of qualifying for the Champions League. It is eight points behind AC Milan, which currently occupies the last qualifying spot for Europe's elite competition.

"We gifted a penalty to Juve, but I didn't see so much difference," Lazio coach Vladimir Petkovic said. "We gave away two goals. They were good to take advantage of their two chances, so congratulations to them.

"We need to be more cynical. We looked tired today, but I think that's normal after playing five games in so few days."

Lazio started brightly and Hernanes forced a smart save from Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon.

But Juventus took the lead shortly afterwards when it was awarded a clear penalty following Cana's tackle on Marchisio from behind.

Vidal stepped up and fired into the left-hand side as Lazio goalkeeper Federico Marchetti dived the wrong way.

Juventus almost doubled its lead in the 21st minute when Mirko Vucinic tried to flick in Andrea Pirlo's free kick, but Marchetti made a great save.

Lazio had a chance to level shortly after when a cross was floated over to Cana, who was all alone right in front of goal, but the Albania midfielder completely miskicked an attempted volley.

The visiting side extended its advantage three minutes later. Vucinic's through ball towards Marchisio was deflected by Michael Ciani and Vidal lifted it over Marchetti from the centre of the area.

The Lazio players didn't let their heads go down and almost got one back shortly after the interval. However, Buffon got down smartly on his right to keep out Ciani's header with a great reflex save.

Juventus could have extended its lead when a trademark Pirlo free kick was parried by Marchetti and Marchisio somehow fired over from six yards out.

Juventus celebrates (Photo: Paolo Bruno/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Paolo Bruno/Getty Images)
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