Juventus moved five points clear at the summit of Serie A courtesy of a resounding 4-0 victory over Udinese in Turin on Saturday evening.
Paul Pogba was the star of the show for the Bianconeri, opening the scoring with a stunning strike from distance towards the tail end of the first half before repeating the feat midway through the second period.
Mirko Vucinic added a third with a close-range volley that Udinese goalkeeper Danielle Padelli really should have saved and then laid on a fourth for Alessandro Matri as the home side capitalized on second-placed Lazio's surprise 2-2 draw at Palermo earlier in the evening.
Despite having accrued just one point from its previous two Serie A outings, Juventus began the game in confident fashion, with Sebastian Giovinco and Vucinic looking particularly lively up top.
Indeed, the former embarked upon a run which ultimately led to Arturo Vidal calling Padelli into action for the first time with a well-struck drive from the edge of the area that the goalkeeper did well to tip over. It was Vucinic, meanwhile, who slipped Emanuele Giaccherini through on goal 19 minutes in. Again Padelli came to Udinese’s rescue, though, this time denying the Bianconeri an opening goal with an outstretched left foot.
Giovinco then sent over the set piece which Leonardo Bonucci headed just over the bar but, by that point, 31 minutes in, the home fans were growing a little restless. However, they were on their feet just before the break when Pogba pounced on a loose ball some 30 yards out and unleashed an unstoppable volley into the top corner.
It had come out of nothing but it was difficult not to feel that Juve deserved to go into the break a goal to the good given the visitor's had offered little by way of an attacking threat during the opening 45 minutes.
Unsurprisingly, Udinese elected to take a gamble on star forward Antonio Di Natale, who had been left on the bench because of concerns over his fitness. However, his introduction made not a jot of distance because while the Zebrette saw more of the ball in the second period, they were still utterly devoid of an attacking threat in midfield.
The same could not be said of Juventus, nor indeed Pogba, who doubled the champion's advantage on 66 minutes, this time beating Padelli from distance with a less spectacular - but equally unstoppable - drive into the bottom corner.
Udinese was left reeling by a second hammer blow from the boot of the teenage Frenchman and Juventus finished its punch drunk opponent off with two more goals in the final quarter.
First, Vucinic rolled Thomas Heurtaux in the area before somehow squirming a shot past Padelli, and then the Montenegrin turned provider, splitting the now ragged Udinese defense with a pass that Matri, who had come on for Giovinco, finished with relish.
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- Sports & Recreation
- Mirko Vucinic
- Paul Pogba
- Sebastian Giovinco
- Alessandro Matri