Juventus triumph at Chievo
Last Updated: 03/02/13 2:41pm
Stephan Lichsteiner battles with Bojan Jokic
Juventus went three points clear at the top of Serie A thanks to a 2-1 victory over mid-table Chievo at the Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi.
An early strike by Alessandro Matri was followed by a second just before the break from Stephan Lichtsteiner, putting the visitors in control before Cyril Thereau reduced the arrears early in the second half.
Thereau had a chance to level the scores shortly after, but in truth it was a victory the league leaders deserved with Antonio Conte's side missing chances to extend their lead late on.
New signing Nicolas Anelka was an unused substitute for Juventus, who were without Mirko Vucinic and Leonardo Bonucci due to suspension, while midfielder Simone Pepe, striker Nicklas Bendtner and defender Giorgio Chiellini were out because of injury.
Those absences coupled with a victory at Lazio last time out would have buoyed the home side, but their hopes of any shock suffered a blow when Juventus took the lead after just 10 minutes.
Arturo Vidal's cross from the right was met by Matri, who volleyed into the bottom right-hand corner of the net.
They almost extended their lead 10 minutes later when Matri linked up with Sebastian Giovinco who, after weaving his way past defenders in the box, failed to find a finish and blazed his effort over.
After 23 minutes visiting stopper Gianluigi Buffon was forced into his first save, keeping out Alberto Paloschi's effort which had looked destined to fall inside the near post.
Paloschi should have levelled the scores just after the half-hour mark, but the striker could not got on the end of Thereau's low cross when any touch would have resulted in a goal.
The home side were made to regret that missed opportunity three minutes before the break when Matri fed Giovinco, whose backheel found Lichtsteiner and the Swiss made no mistake from close range.
Chievo struck back seven minutes into the second period when Perparim Hetemaj found Thereau, who turned and finished neatly past Buffon.
Thereau went close to equalising just five minutes later, but his shot from the edge of the area was well saved by Buffon.
It was to be as close as Chievo would get to levelling the scores as Juventus went on the attack.
Paul Pogba's backheeled effort went wide after 61 minutes before Chievo keeper Christian Puggioni had to be at full stretch to keep out Paolo De Ceglie's effort 15 minutes from time.
Andrea Pirlo's late free-kick fizzed just over the bar, but it mattered not as Juventus moved clear of second-placed Napoli.
Italian Serie A