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Mario Mandzukic and Gonzalo Higuain scored in the second half for Juventus.

By Associated Press
February 08, 2017

MILAN (AP) — It was harder than Juventus would have liked, but Massimiliano Allegri's side won 2-0 at relegation-threatened Crotone to restore its seven-point lead in Serie A on Wednesday.

Juventus struggled to break Crotone down before goals from Mario Mandzukic and Gonzalo Higuain in the second half.

The match had been rescheduled from Dec. 22 because Juventus was involved in the Italian Super Cup, which it lost on penalties to AC Milan. The Rossoneri visit Bologna later.

It took until the 23rd minute for Juventus to have its first shot on target when Paulo Dybala's effort was saved by Crotone goalkeeper Alex Cordaz.

The visitors went even closer on the stroke of halftime when Cordaz parried Marko Pjaca's header and Dybala's follow-up was cleared off the line by Gian Marco Ferrari.

Juventus kept calm and eventually got the breakthrough on the hour when Cordaz parried Kwadwo Asamoah's header and Mandzukic rushed in to slot home from a tight angle.

Miralem Pjanic was brought on in the 70th minute for Sami Khedira and he set up Juve's second four minutes later, finding Tomas Rincon who sent a delightful ball through for Higuain to round Cordaz and deposit into the far corner.

Pjanic almost got on the scoresheet himself five minutes from time but his volley came back off the crossbar.

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