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Juventus Beats Spezia 3-0, Closes Gap On Inter

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Juventus closed the gap on Serie A leaders Inter Milan after a 3-0 victory against struggling Spezia, boosting its hopes of a 10th straight title after moving to within seven points of the leaders.

Andrea Pirlo’s side were frustrated for long periods, but second-half goals from Alvaro Morata, Federico Chiesa and Cristiano Ronaldo secured an important win at the Allianz Stadium.

Juventus started slowly with their only real opening in the first half seeing Chiesa having an effort ruled out for a clear offside.But the reigning champions were much better in the second period and Ronaldo was unlucky to see his 49th-minute strike hit the post.

Pirlo’s men opened the scoring in the 62nd minute as Morata turned in Federico Bernardeschi’s near-post cross, although the hosts had to wait for VAR to confirm the winger was onside.

Juventus striker Alvaro Morata celebrates after VAR confirmed his goals during  a Serie A match against Spezia at the Allianz Stadium

Bernardeschi was also instrumental in the second goal, as he got in behind the Spezia defence after running freely down the left-hand side.

He squared the ball for Chiesa, whose effort was saved by Ivan Provedel, only for the Juventus midfielder to tap in the rebound.

Juventus midfielder Federico Chiesa scores rebound after saved first attempt during Serie A match against Spezia

There was still time for Rodrigo Bentancur to launch a Juventus counter-attack, which was finished off by Ronaldo, with the Portuguese forward scoring his 20th Serie A goal of the campaign.

It is the 12th straight season Ronaldo has scored 20 league goals, dating back to his final term with Manchester United, when he netted 18 times in the 2008-09 Premier League season.

Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates goal against Spezia

Andrey Galabinov missed a penalty deep into injury time for Spezia, who remain in 16th place, seven points above the bottom three, but having played at least a game more than all of their relegation rivals.

Juventus sit three points behind second-placed AC Milan, who host Udinese on Wednesday, while Inter Milan will play Parma on Thursday.

“The gap is just the points that separate us, we know it will be a long chase” Juventus coach Andrea Pirlo said.

“Inter have been playing together for two years, they have a well-drilled approach, whereas we just started this season. We still intend to be there right to the end.”

The Turin giants have won the last nine Italian league titles, but have it all to do to deny either of the two Milan clubs from ending that remarkable run.

 

Chidi Nwoke.

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