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 By PA Sport

Juventus defeat Palermo, assume fifth place in Serie A table

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Reigning champions Juventus continued their climb back to the upper reaches of the Serie A table by beating Palermo 3-0 at the Stadio Renzo Barbera.

The Bianconeri, who have won the title four times in a row, started the season with back-to-back defeats and have been struggling to make up for lost time ever since. Results in Europe and at home suggest the tide has turned.

Palermo managed to frustrate them until Mario Mandzukic broke the deadlock after half-time. Stefano Sturaro and substitute Simone Zaza confirmed the outcome with late goals and Juve were able to celebrate a fourth straight win.

Massimiliano Allegri's men found their Sicilian hosts - themselves restricted to a couple of half-chances - immovable before the break, with Mandzukic and former Palermo favourite Paulo Dybala going closest to notching.

Mario Mandzukic broke the deadlock in the 54th minute.

The Croatian got his head to Dybala's pinpoint cross nine minutes after the restart and Stefano Sorrentino was finally beaten, although he would keep Juan Cuadrado from finding the inside of his near post after the hour.

With time ticking away, the Rosanero visibly tired and Sturaro duly stole into the box to turn home Paul Pogba's through-ball.

Zaza then made an instant impact from the bench, smashing home a daisy-cutter following his clever one-two with Alvaro Morata.

The string of wins propels Juventus into fifth place and to within six points of league leaders Inter Milan, who could be replaced by Napoli should they lose to the Azzurri at the Stadio San Paolo on Monday night.

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