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Tevez scores hat trick to help Juventus extend Serie A lead

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The Canadian Press
12/15/2013 5:16:38 PM
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MILAN, Italy -- Carlos Tevez scored his first hat trick for Juventus to help the Serie A leader crush Sassuolo 4-0 on Sunday and reinforce its bid for a third successive league title.

Federico Peluso scored the other goal as Juventus bounced back from its midweek Champions League exit in emphatic fashion, with its eighth successive league win and clean sheet.

"What emotion do I feel after the hat trick? The only emotion is that of winning a match which was very difficult after we were knocked out of the cup," Tevez said. "We are a very strong squad mentally and we showed that today.

"We talked after the Galatasaray match. We've paid for our mistakes against Copenhagen and in the first part of the Champions League. Now we have three other titles to go for: league, Italian Cup and Europa League. We'll try to get all three."

Juventus moved provisionally six points clear of Roma, which visits AC Milan on Monday.

Napoli is two points further back after also getting over Champions League disappointment with an entertaining 4-2 win over 10-man Inter Milan.

"Today was like a final for us, we wanted to win it and we did so," Gonzalo Higuain said. "It was a very important match, I'm delighted with the victory. Inter is now seven points behind us, Fiorentina still has five points less and we are closer to Roma."

Earlier, Fiorentina leapfrogged Inter into fourth spot after a comfortable 3-0 win over Bologna, while Lazio beat Livorno 2-0.

Elsewhere, it was: Chievo Verona 0, Sampdoria 1; Genoa 1, Atalanta 1; Parma 0, Cagliari 0; and Udinese 0, Torino 2.

Juventus had lost at Galatasaray on Wednesday in a game that was pushed back a day because of snow. Because of that the league match was moved to Sunday, with 9,000 children in attendance as one of the stands behind the goal was still closed to the ultras following anti-territorial chants.

Tevez grabbed his first in the 15th minute, firing in the rebound after Arturo Vidal's effort had been saved by Gianluca Pegolo. The Argentina striker turned provider in the 28th with a free kick which Peluso headed in for his first league goal for Juventus.

Tevez doubled his tally on the stroke of halftime, pouncing on an error from Lino Marzorati before rounding the onrushing Pegolo and slotting into an empty net.

And Tevez -- who scored a hat trick for Manchester City earlier this year -- completed his treble in the 69th minute, starting the move and finishing it when Mauricio Isla rolled the ball across for him to tap in from six yards.

Tevez was substituted moments later to a standing ovation.

In Naples, coaches Walter Mazzarri and Rafa Benitez both faced their former teams and it was the latter who emerged victorious.

Higuain, who had scored in the ultimately meaningless 2-0 win over Arsenal midweek, opened the scoring for Napoli in the ninth minute with a delightful volley after Yuto Nagatomo headed a clearance straight at the Argentine.

Esteban Cambiasso levelled in the 35th but Dries Mertens restored Napoli's lead almost immediately before Blerim Dzemaili added a third three minutes later when Samir Handanovic could only get a hand to Mertens' shot.

Nagatomo atoned for his earlier error to reduce the deficit in first-half stoppage time but the match swung back Napoli's way in the 72nd minute when Ricardo Alvarez was sent off following a second yellow card for handball.

Jose Maria Callejon sealed the match nine minutes from time with a simple finish. Napoli almost scored a fifth but substitute Goran Pandev had a penalty saved by Handanovic after he was tripped by Andrea Ranocchia immediately after coming off the bench.

It was Napoli' second win in five league matches.

Earlier, Josip Ilicic scored his first goal in eight months before Borja Valero and Serie A's leading scorer Giuseppe Rossi sealed the win for Fiorentina.

The American-born Rossi, who plays for the Italian national team, is the top scorer in Serie A with 13 goals, three more than Tevez.

In Rome, Miroslav Klose netted twice in the German's first start in a month for Lazio following a shoulder injury to help Lazio to its first league win since Oct. 27.

Livorno remains a point off 17th-placed Sassuolo and safety, with Bologna a point further back.

Chievo Verona had been in fantastic form and won its three games since firing coach Giuseppe Sannino and rehiring Eugenio Corini.

However, Sampdoria had also turned things around since changing coaches and was unbeaten under Sinisa Mihajlovic.

Eder heading a corner into the top right in the 16th minute. It was the first goal Chievo had conceded in five matches going back to Oct. 31.

Samp moves above Chievo and level on points with Udinese after second-half goals from Alexander Farnerud and Ciro Immobile helped Torino to its first win in Udine in 29 years.

Torino moved into seventh spot, two points above both Lazio and Genoa.

Andrea Bertolacci's 72nd-minute strike looked to have given Genoa victory but Giuseppe De Luca levelled for Atalanta deep into stoppage time.

Carlos Tevez (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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