Serie A: Juventus takes care of Lazio; Roma comes back vs. Atalanta
ROME (AP) — In a show of rapidly developing talent and established strength, Paul Pogba and Carlos Tevez led Juventus to a 3-0 win at Lazio on Saturday to maintain the Turin power's three-point lead atop Serie A.
Pogba, the France international being hailed as one of the world's next great midfielders, scored twice and also hit the post. Tevez, already established as a world-class striker, added a goal and an assist.
The pressure was on for Juventus after Roma beat Atalanta 2-1 earlier to draw provisionally level with the three-time defending champion.
"We couldn't afford to make any mistakes tonight," Tevez said.
Pogba put Juventus ahead in the 25th minute at Stadio Olimpico, collecting a cross from Tevez with one touch of his right foot and launching into the net from the edge of the area with his next touch with the same foot.
Tevez finished off a counterattack in the 55th for his league-best ninth goal in 11 appearances.
Pogba coolly scored his second in the 64th following an excellent setup from Roberto Pereyra — fooling Lazio goalkeeper Federico Marchetti by mixing up the pace of his long strides before slotting inside the near post.
Juventus played the final 20 minutes with 10 men after Simone Padoin picked up his second yellow card.
Lazio dropped to sixth, two points ahead of AC Milan, which faces Inter in the Milan derby on Sunday.
Earlier, forward Adem Ljajic scored one goal and set up another as Roma overcame an opening-minute lapse for a win in Bergamo.
Maxi Moralez scored for the hosts 57 seconds in after Ashley Cole was beaten down the left flank, prompting Roma fans to throw flares and other objects at Atalanta supporters.
Ljajic dribbled by three defenders to equalize with a long, angled shot in the 23rd, and then set up Radja Nainggolan for a similar goal in the 42nd.
"We conceded a goal right away on their first chance. But we showed determination to win this game until the 90th minute," Roma midfielder Miralem Pjanic said.
Atalanta remained two points above the relegation zone.
In the Champions League this week, Juventus visits Malmo and Roma travels to CSKA Moscow.
Ljajic has four goals this season, and shown to be a viable alternative to the likes of Gervinho, Juan Iturbe, Francesco Totti and Mattia Destro in coach Rudi Garcia's well-stocked attack. Totti was suspended.
Ljajic was punched by his coach at Fiorentina, Delio Rossi, after protesting a substitution in May, 2012. Rossi was fired, and the next season, Ljajic scored a career-high 11 goals for Fiorentina but again had problems with his coach, Sinisa Mihajlovic.
Since transferring to Roma before last season, Ljajic appears to have settled down. While small in stature, his talent shows large with his quick feet and skills inside the area.
"I've been saying for 18 months now that Ljajic is a talented player," Garcia said. "Fortunately, in attack we don't have problems and can give everyone playing time. He had a great match tonight. He scored a beautiful goal and provided a great assist."
Meanwhile, midfielder Riccardo Montolivo was named to Milan's squad for the derby, marking his return six months after breaking his left leg in a pre-World Cup friendly with Italy.