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Juventus comes from behind to win at Cagliari

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The Canadian Press
1/12/2014 4:50:23 PM
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MILAN, Italy -- Juventus came from behind to win 4-1 at Cagliari and maintain its eight-point advantage over second-place Roma, which beat 10-man Genoa 4-0 in Serie A on Sunday with a stunning goal by Alessandro Florenzi.

Napoli beat high-flying Hellas Verona 3-0 to keep up the pressure on the top two while AC Milan had another disappointing night as four goals from teenage forward Domenico Berardi saw relegation-threatened Sassuolo come back from two goals down to win 4-3.

"It's a day I will never forget," Berardi said. "I'm happy for the coach as his position was at risk. We played also for him, who took us into Serie A and has a huge heart."

Stephan Lichtsteiner set up two goals and scored the fourth in Sardinia as the match changed in the space of eight second-half minutes. Mauricio Pinilla had given Cagliari the lead but was sent off three minutes from time for dissent.

It is the first time Juventus has won 11 consecutive league games and Antonio Conte's team is firmly on course for a third successive title.

"It's an extraordinary achievement," Juventus coach Antonio Conte said. "The fact in the entire history of Juventus, no team managed it, fills us with pride and satisfaction. I've thanked the lads, sometimes you don't even manage to enjoy these moments.

"My job now is to try and extend this positive streak, everyone will be trying to stop us."

Earlier, Fiorentina was held to a 0-0 draw at Torino. Also, Atalanta beat Catania 2-1.

Juventus was stunned in the 21st minute when, following a short corner, Andrea Cossu's cross was deflected to an unmarked Pinilla on the far side of the area and he gave Cagliari a surprise lead.

Fernando Llorente headed Lichtsteiner's cross in to level the game in the 31st but Cagliari almost immediately restored its lead as Daniele Dessena's diving header was kept out by a fantastic Gianluigi Buffon save.

Claudio Marchisio came on in the 66th minute and the Italy midfielder took just seven minutes before giving Juventus the lead with an effort from outside the area which Cagliari goalkeeper Antonio Adan got a hand to but could not prevent going in.

Llorente scored his second of the match minutes later when he slotted home Lichsteiner's low ball across the area.

Lichsteiner got on the scoresheet in the 80th minute, following up after Adan had fumbled Llorente's weak shot.

In the capital, Roma broke the deadlock in the 26th minute with a stunning, overhead kick from Florenzi following Franesco Totti's free kick.

Totti's low drive was deflected into the near corner four minutes later and Florenzi turned provider shortly before halftime with a looping cross which Maicon slotted home.

Roma extended its lead still further when defender Mehdi Benatia headed in his fifth goal of the season.

Genoa was reduced to 10 men when Francelino Matuzalem was given a second yellow card for gesturing toward the Roma fans as he was walking off the field to be substituted.

"The squad responded well, it was the right match for us," Roma coach Rudi Garcia said. "We pressed very well and then Alessandro Florenzi scored that great goal. We also saw the captain rediscover his form.

"It's a record for Roma to get 44 points in 19 rounds, but now we have to keep going like this."

Napoli remained 10 points behind Juventus after inflicting Verona's second home defeat of the season with goals from Dries Mertens, Lorenzo Insigne and Blerim Dzemaili.

Fiorentina slipped five points behind Napoli and the last Champions League berth after it struggled against Torino, with star strikers Giuseppe Rossi and Mario Gomez both out with serious knee injuries.

In the evening match, Milan looked headed for a victory after goals from Robinho and Mario Balotelli inside the first 13 minutes against a Sassuolo side which had lost its past five matches in all competitions without scoring a goal.

However, the 19-year-old Berardi -- who is part owned by Juventus -- scored his second hat trick of the season before adding a fourth at the start of the second half to take his tally to 11 goals in 14 matches.

New signing Keisuke Honda made his Milan debut and hit the post seven minutes from time before fellow substitute Riccardo Montolivo reduced the deficit in the 86th.

Giampaolo Pazzini almost levelled moments later as his header bounced off the underside of the crossbar but didn't cross the line.

Mirko Vucinic (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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