Serie A: Juventus blasts Palermo to go nine points clear
MILAN (AP) — Juventus continued its march toward a fifth successive Serie A title as it beat relegation-threatened Palermo 4-0 to move nine points clear on Sunday.
Second-place Napoli lost 2-0 at Inter Milan on Saturday. There are five rounds left.
The only negative note for Juventus was an injury picked up by Claudio Marchisio who was stretchered off in the 15th with a knee injury.
Tests revealed he has torn the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee and the Italy midfielder, who will miss the European Championship, will be operated on in the next few days.
"At the moment there is no margin for error because we are in the final sprint," Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri said. "The title is not yet won. We have a nine-point advantage, a good goal difference but we still need two wins and a draw.
"Now we have Lazio and Fiorentina, which will be two very difficult matches. Our rivals have an easier run-in."
Earlier, third-place Roma missed the chance to close the gap to Napoli to three points as it drew 3-3 at Atalanta.
Roma is four points above Inter in the race for the final Champions League qualifying place, with Fiorentina two points further back after a 3-1 win over Sassuolo - thanks in part to a comical own goal from visiting goalkeeper Andrea Consigli.
Cristian Brocchi made a winning start to his senior managerial career at AC Milan, having been promoted from his role as youth team coach to replace Sinisa Mihajlovic last week.
Carlos Bacca scored the only goal of an entertaining match to give Milan a 1-0 win at Sampdoria.
Simone Inzaghi, who has made a similar move after being the youth team coach at Lazio, made it two wins out of two with a 2-0 victory over Empoli.
Earlier, a stoppage-time winner from Alessandro Frara gave Frosinone a crucial 2-1 victory at bottom side Hellas Verona.
Frosinone leapfrogged two points above Palermo and one behind Carpi, which occupies the last position of safety in Serie A.
Chievo Verona drew 0-0 at Udinese.
Juventus knew that victory would leave it with one hand on the trophy and it seemed to be going to plan when Sami Khedira chested down Paul Pogba's chipped pass and volleyed it over Stefano Sorrentino in the 10th minute.
Juventus appeared shocked by Marchisio's injury and lost its rhythm, allowing Palermo to create pressure, although Pogba did have an effort tipped onto the crossbar by Sorrentino.
Palermo almost leveled when Franco Vazquez sent Aleksandar Trajkovski through and although his shot beat Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, defender Andrea Barzagli got back to clear off the line.
It took Juventus until the 71st minute to double its lead when a corner came through to the back post for Pogba to tap in.
Juan Cuadrado sealed the match three minutes later after a delightful dummy and substitute Simone Padoin completed the rout, stroking an Alvaro Morata assist into the far bottom corner.
In Florence, Gonzalo Rodriguez opened the scoring and Josip Ilicic restored that lead after a Domenico Berardi equalizer, to set Fiorentina on the way to ending a run of six matches without a win.
The result was sealed when Sassuolo goalkeeper Consigli went to kick an innocuous backpass to a teammate as it rolled gently toward him but somehow scuffed his shot so badly that he turned it into his own net.