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April 18, 2015

MILAN (AP) — Runaway leader Juventus took another important step towards the Serie A title as it eased to a 2-0 win over second-place Lazio on Saturday.

Carlos Tevez scored a league-leading 18th goal, and Leonardo Bonucci added the second within 29 minutes at Juventus Stadium, blowing away Lazio's hopes of a ninth successive victory.

Lazio midfielder Danilo Cataldi was sent off late on for a dangerous tackle on Tevez.

Juventus moved 15 points clear of Lazio, which could be overtaken by city rival Roma when it hosts Atalanta on Sunday.

Victory also boosted Juventus ahead of Wednesday's trip to Monaco for the second leg of their Champions League quarterfinal.

Earlier, Sampdoria was held to a goalless draw at home by relegation-threatened Cesena, despite playing with four strikers as it attempted to improve its chances of qualifying for Europe.

Lazio knew a club-record ninth successive win would cut Juventus' lead to a not-impossible nine points, with seven rounds remaining.

Juve had slumped to a shock 1-0 defeat at bottom club Parma last weekend ahead of the first leg of its Champions League quarterfinal — which it won 1-0 following a controversial penalty — and was keen to avoid making the same mistakes.

Alvaro Morata was rested and replaced by Alessandro Matri in a strong starting XI, while Lazio was missing key players such as Stefan de Vrij, Marco Parolo, Stefan Radu, Filip Djordjevic and suspended duo Pedro Luis Cavanda and Diego Novaretti.

The match was also a preview to the Italian Cup final between them in June.

Tevez broke the deadlock in the 17th minute with his first touch, springing the offside trap onto a long ball flicked on by Arturo Vidal and firing into the bottom right corner.

Tevez was also involved in the second, making a darting run to fool the Lazio defence and allowing Bonucci to sprint forward from the halfway line before drilling hard and low past Federico Marchetti.

In half an hour, Lazio had conceded as many goals as it had during its entire run of eight successive wins.

Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon made several crucial saves in the second half but Lazio never really looked like getting back into the game.

Lazio's misery was complete in the 89th minute when Cataldi was shown a straight red card.

In Genoa, Samuel Eto'o, Luis Muriel, Stefano Okaka and Eder all started for Sampdoria but couldn't finish off the home side's numerous chances.

Muriel should have done better after Eto'o dribbled along the byline and his pullback was deflected into the Colombia striker's path, but he ballooned over from 10 yards.

Eder fired inches wide of the far post soon after.

Sampdoria was also denied by a goal-line clearance when former defender Stefano Lucchini hooked Alessio Romagnoli's header off the line.

Cesena could have won it right at the death with a counterattack but Pedro Obiang's perfectly timed tackle on Defrel prevented the danger.

Cesena, which was third from bottom, moved a point closer to safety and edged to within six points of Atalanta.

Sampdoria provisionally moved level on points with fourth-place Napoli.

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