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Juventus tops Udinese, restores 8-point Serie A lead

Photo: Paolo Giovannini/AP

Juventus' Fernando Llorente, left, celebrates his goal with Andrea Pirlo during the club's 2-0 win over Udinese on Monday.

UDINE, Italy (AP) - Sebastian Giovinco and Fernando Llorente helped Juventus beat Udinese 2-0 on Monday and restore its eight-point lead at the top of the Serie A table.

With Carlos Tevez rested, Giovinco was handed a rare start and he put Juventus in front in the 16th minute, dribbling his way into the right of the area before curling a shot into the far corner.

Juventus doubled its lead 10 minutes later when Llorente prodded in a rebound after a goalmouth scramble following a corner.

Antonio Conte's side remains firmly on course for a Serie A and European double. Juventus faces Benefica in the Europa League semifinals as well as having a clear advantage over Roma with five rounds remaining.

''This was a `red flag' match, we could have lost points at Udine,'' Conte said. ''But we were very good in approaching the match with the right focus and attitude. We have to stay on the ball because Roma won't give up,

''I knew (Giovinco) was in great form. He has to realize he can make the difference even in a team like Juventus. We decided to rest Carlos also because he still has a bit of a thigh problem. We need everyone because we are involved on two fronts.''

Giovinco almost got a second but Simone Scuffet palmed his effort round the far post, while he also hit the upright late on.

Scuffet has had a number of impressive performances of late and the 17-year-old goalkeeper is already being touted as Juventus counterpart Gianluigi Buffon's successor for Italy.

Udinese's best chance came in stoppage time when Luis Muriel's effort came off the base of the right post.

''We met a really strong side which deserved to win,'' Udinese coach Francesco Guidolin said. ''My team played with courage and determination. Juventus was good in closing down the spaces but we played with pride and we gave everything we had to give.''

There was a video tribute before the match to former Udinese player Piermario Morosini, who collapsed and died while playing on loan for Livorno against Pescara, two years ago to the day.

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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