Juventus tops Sampdoria for 12th consecutive victory
MILAN (AP) -- Juventus eased to a 4-2 win over Sampdoria to restore its eight-point advantage at the top of the table after Roma comfortably beat relegation-threatened Livorno 3-0 on Saturday.
Arturo Vidal scored twice for Juventus in a fantastic first half. Paul Pogba also netted a brilliant effort as Antonio Conte's team cruised to a record-extending 12th successive victory.
''We prepared for the game in the right way otherwise it would have been hard to beat this Samp,'' Conte said. ''But in the Cagliari match and today we have conceded three goals from a corner or a dead-ball situation and we have to work on that.
''I always try to make sure the lads have the utmost focus because matches are never closed. That's been the difference between us and other teams in these two and a half years.''
Sampdoria never gave up and its tenacity was embodied by Manolo Gabbiadini, who hit the post and the crossbar as well as scoring.
''Juventus deserved to win,'' Sampdoria coach Sinisa Mihajlovic said. ''They were better than us, especially in the opening 25 minutes when they played at a high tempo.
''The lads aren't downtrodden, they always tried to play. This is a young squad fighting for safety which, nevertheless, in a full stadium, against so many champions, scored two goals and tried to play. The lads gave their all. We'll go forward with this mentality.''
Roma briefly reduced Juventus' advantage to five points after goals from Mattia Destro, Kevin Strootman and Adem Ljajic.
''I'm happy with the win and with the three goals, even if we should be more clinical in front of goal,'' Roma coach Rudi Garcia said. ''Now we can wait for the results of the others more calmly. That's the best way to prepare for the Italian Cup match.''
Roma and Juventus meet in the cup quarterfinals this month.
Livorno, under new coach Attilio Perotti, remained bottom of the standings, with just one point from its last nine matches.
Having set a club record with its 11th successive win last week, Juventus was looking to close in on Inter Milan's record of 17 consecutive victories, set in the 2006-07 season.
Juventus broke the deadlock in the 18th minute when Pogba sent a delightful through ball in for Vidal to flick into the bottom right corner with the outside of his boot.
Gabbiadini almost immediately leveled but his effort scraped the outside of the post.
Juventus extended its lead minutes later when Fernando Llorente leapt highest to powerfully head in Carlos Tevez's corner.
Tevez almost got on the scoresheet but he was denied by a combination of the right post and Sampdoria goalkeeper Junior Da Costa.
Samp reduced the deficit seven minutes from time when Juventus defender Andrea Barzagli slid in to block Gabbiadini's cross but succeeded only in turning it into his own net.
Juventus restored its two-goal advantage soon after as Vasco Regini was adjudged to have fouled Vidal and the Chilean lashed home the resulting penalty.
Samp got back into the game again midway through the second period. Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon pulled off an excellent reaction save to keep out Regini's header but Gabbiadini fired in the rebound.
And Samp was almost immediately level but Gabbiadini's effort cannoned off the crossbar.
Pogba sealed the match 12 minutes from time when he curled a magnificent strike from 20 meters into the top right corner.
In the capital, Roma dominated and got off to the perfect start when Ljajic's cross was flicked on by a wayward Gervinho backheel for Destro to tap home in the sixth minute.
Roma doubled its lead in the 36th when Destro chipped the goalkeeper and, although Nahuel Valentini slid in for a goal-line clearance, Strootman lashed home the rebound from close range.
Roma sealed the result in the 78th when Ljajic cut inside before curling a shot into the near bottom corner for his first goal since September.
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