Alessandro Fucarini/AP

Juventus went 14 points clear in Serie A with a tough victory over Palermo.

March 14, 2015

MILAN (AP) — Juventus managed to grind out a 1-0 win at Palermo on Saturday despite missing a number of players and provisionally extended its Serie A lead to 14 points.

Substitute Alvaro Morata broke the deadlock in the 70th minute with a curled shot into the left side of goal, 10 minutes after replacing Fernando Llorente.

Juventus increased its advantage over Roma, which hosts Sampdoria on Monday.

It was only Palermo's second home defeat of the season but it was also the Sicilian club's third successive match without scoring a goal, extending its drought to 334 minutes.

Also, a stoppage-time equalizer saw Empoli extend its unbeaten run to seven games with a 1-1 draw at Cagliari to ruin the return of coach Zdenek Zeman

Juventus was without the suspended Paul Pogba, while Andrea Pirlo was still out injured, along with several other players. Massimiliano Allegri also rested several players ahead of Wednesday's crucial Champions League trip to Borussia Dortmund, for the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie.

Juventus' Alvaro Morata jumps as he celebrates after scoring during a Serie A soccer match betwe …

Stefano Sturaro made his debut after seeing his loan spell at Genoa ended early in January. The midfielder disappointed and was taken off at halftime.

Andrea Barzagli got his first start this season, having recovered from repeated Achilles tendon problems.

Juventus had only one shot on target in the first half, courtesy of Carlos Tevez, while Palermo had none.

Matters improved little after the break until Morata was brought on.

Zeman was sacked by Cagliari before the winter break but was rehired on Monday after his replacement Gianfranco Zola was fired.

He appeared to have had an immediate effect as Cagliari, which had lost five of its previous six matches, took the lead in the 20th minute. Diego Farias raced forward from midfield to set up Joao Pedro, who curled into the far right side of goal from the edge of the box.

Joao Pedro also hit the post minutes later, as did Paul-Jose M'Poku.

Cagliari had only kept two clean sheets all season but looked on course for a crucial victory before Empoli leveled with almost the last kick of the game. The ball was rolled across the area and goalkeeper Zeljko Brkic mistimed his exit, allowing Matias Vecino to drive into an empty net.

Cagliari moved three points from safety ahead of the rest of the weekend's fixtures.

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