Serie A - Giovinco stars as Juventus triumph over Atalanta

Sebastian Giovinco pulled the strings for Juventus as they won 3-0 at home to 10-man Atalanta to capitalise on Inter's defeat and move seven points clear at the top of Serie A.

Serie A - Giovinco stars as Juventus triumph over Atalanta

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Juventus' midfielder Andrea Pirlo shoots to score against Atalanta (AFP)

Mirko Vucinic opened the scoring with Atalanta still taking stock of the Italian champions in the second minute of the match and Andrea Pirlo whipped a fabulous free-kick in for 2-0 before the game was a quarter of an hour old.

Claudio Marchisio's low strike made it three before half-time, and Juve should have won by many more with the otherwise superb Giovinco guilty of profligacy and Atalanta keeper Andrea Consigli pulling off several excellent saves.

Inter were beaten by Napoli on Saturday, and with third-placed Napoli losing 3-2 at home to Bologna later on Sunday evening, the Bianconeri move seven points clear at the summit of Serie A.

They did not hesitate to take it, with Montenegrin striker Vucinic bending home a low finish after he was played in by Giovinco to set the home fans celebrating.

A slip by Luca Marrone let Atalanta's Argentine striker German Denis in almost immediately, but Gianluigi Buffon blocked brilliantly at the edge of his box.

Atalanta had their moments on the counter, but diminutive playmaker Maximiliano Moralez failed to provide a cutting edge alongside Denis.

Juve's own tiny star Giovinco was however in inspired form, at the heart of practically every incisive attacking move.

When veteran midfield star Pirlo lined up a free-kick from the left all of 30 yards out the Juventus Arena held its collective breath - and exaltation followed when he whipped it over the wall and inside the near post.

Consigli tipped a Giovinco strike on to the post before Marchisio made it three on 27 minutes, his low bullet from outside the penalty area taking a small deflection as it flew into the far bottom corner.

There was controversy soon after as Thomas Manfredini - who earlier fouled Arturo Vidal - was shown a second yellow card for a foul on Giorgio Chiellini. The Juventus defender had somehow escaped sanction himself for a terrible tackle on Giacomo Bonaventura.

In the final act of the first half Consigli blocked brilliantly at the near post from a Vidal volley and he repeated the trick soon into the second half to deny Giovinco.

The playmaker, operating behind Vucinic in Juve's 3-5-2 formation, was put through on goal in the 66th minute but again Consigli was a match for him, making the block around the penalty spot.

He would pull off further saves from Giovinco and Fabio Quagliarella - who appeared as a sub and also curled a strike just wide of the top corner - while Giovinco blazed a first-time shot over from 10 yards.

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