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 Posted by PA Sport
Mar 16, 2014

Pirlo saves Juve, AC Milan slump

Pirlo's fourth league goal of the season made the difference.
Pirlo's fourth league goal of the season made the difference.

Andrea Pirlo fired Juventus 17 points clear at the top of the Serie A table with the latest of free-kicks to down Genoa 1-0.

The reigning champions were off-colour at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris and an under-strength team struggled to dominate an enterprising Genoa side.

Dani Osvaldo had two goals ruled out for narrow offside calls in the first half while Genoa's Emanuele Calaio saw his penalty saved by veteran goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon with 20 minutes remaining.

Juve looked poised to settle for a single point but Pirlo stepped up to boost the Turin outfit well clear of second-placed Roma's reach with a trademark free-kick at the death.

AC Milan's miserable fortnight took a turn for the worse as old boy Antonio Cassano inspired Parma to a 4-2 victory at San Siro.

The pressure has been building on coach Clarence Seedorf following back-to-back Serie A defeats to Juventus and Udinese while the seven-time European champions limped out of the Champions League this week.

Seedorf has played down reports of a falling-out with striker Mario Balotelli, who scored Milan's second after Adil Rami weakened the impact of Cassano's early brace, but the Italy striker continues to flatter to deceive.

To make matters worse, the Rossoneri will be without Christian Abbiati for next week's trip to Lazio after the veteran goalkeeper saw red in the opening minutes. Amauri and Jonathan Biabiany scored late on to ensure all three points went back to Parma as the Ducale club reached fifth place on the back of a third straight win.

Fiorentina regained fourth spot thanks to a 3-1 win over Chievo which included Mario Gomez's first goal at the Artemio Franchi.

Juan Cuadrado gave the Viola the lead in the 11th minute before Alessandro Matri doubled their advantage before the break.

Alberto Paloschi took his third big chance of the match to reduce the arrears, but it was not enough as, after David Pizarro missed a penalty for the hosts, Gomez notched his first goal on home soil to seal the win for the hosts.

Lazio climbed to seventh in the Serie A table after securing a comfortable 2-0 victory over 10-man Cagliari.

The Biancocelesti wobbled and lost at home to Atalanta last time out but made amends at the Stadio Sant'Elia as goals from Senad Lulic and Keita Balde Diao lifted them above Hellas Verona and towards the Europa League spots.

Cagliari, who had recently stabilised themselves in mid-table by producing a three-match unbeaten run, had the chance to level when one goal down in the second half but Mauricio Pinilla missed his penalty.

To compound their disappointing afternoon, Daniele Conti was dismissed for earning a second yellow card late on.

Atalanta moved level on points with Sampdoria and 13 clear of the Serie A relegation zone after a 3-0 win over Sinisa Mihajlovic's men.

The Nerazzurri have been in a rich vein of form of late, with Sunday's triumph at the Stadio Atleti Azzurri d'Italia their third successive win, following on from triumphs against Chievo and Lazio, which have taken them well clear of the bottom three.

Carlos Carmona opened the scoring after 36 minutes, with Samp finding themselves two down before half-time when Giacomo Bonaventura headed home unmarked, while German Denis ensured there was no way back just before the hour mark.

Sassuolo came from behind to beat Catania 3-1 in the battle to avoid relegation.

The Neroverde were bottom of the table and without a win in eight attempts heading into Sunday's basement bout at the Stadio Citta del Tricolore but this victory saw them leapfrog the Sicilians and take 19th place.

Gonzalo Bergessio gave the visitors the lead before half-time but Simone Zaza and Simone Missiroli turned the game on its head before Nicola Sansone put the result beyond doubt at the death.

Livorno moved out of the Serie A relegation zone with a hard-fought 2-1 victory over fellow strugglers Bologna, who took their opponents' place in the bottom three.

Marco Benassi opened the scoring for the home side minutes before Paulinho doubled their lead, but Ibrahima Mbaye saw red for Livorno with 10 minutes left.

Lazaros Christodoulopoulos then netted a late consolation penalty for the visitors after Innocent Emmeghara was given his marching orders to reduce the hosts to nine men.

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