Serie A - Pogba shines in Juventus win

Serie A, Juventus Stadium - Juventus 3 (Llorente 2, Pirlo 74, Pogba 80) Napoli 0

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Juventus' Paul Pogba (R) celebrates with teammates after scoring against Napoli (Reuters)

Juventus closed the gap on leaders Roma at the top of Serie A to one point, after a convincing 3-0 win over third-placed Napoli at the Juventus Stadium.

Fernando Llorente gave La Vecchia Signora the lead in the second minute, then Paul Pogba and Andrea Pirlo netted second-half goals as Antonio Conte's men maintained their 100% home record in the league.

Juventus were reduced to ten men in the closing stages, after defender Angelo Ogbonna was shown a red card for a second bookable offence.

The home side started brightly, and Pogba had already forced an fine flying save from Napoli goalkeeper Pepe Reina moments before the Italian champions took the lead in the second minute.

A short free-kick from Pirlo set up Mauricio Isla outside the area, and Carlos Tevez backheeled the shot across goal for Llorente to get in front of Christian Maggio to poke home.

Reina was then in action with another point-blank save in the eighth minute to keep out Leonardo Bonucci’s header at the far post from Pogba's knockdown across the six-yard box.

Napoli managed to get back into the game after Juventus' frenetic start, with Gonzalo Higuain brilliantly turning Ogbonna on the edge of the area in the 21st minute but shooting just wide of Gianluigi Buffon's goal.

Lorenzo Insigne also worried Buffon when cutting in from the left and shooting just over the bar, but Juventus, with Pirlo and Pogba to the fore in midfield, were deservedly ahead as the two teams went into the break.

Napoli manager Rafael Benitez obviously instructed his side to play a higher line in the second half, and not allow Juventus to build from the back.

The tactic had an immediate effect, allowing the Partenopei a foothold in the game, and they were unlucky not to score in the 51st minute from Insigne's curled free-kick,as Buffon superbly clawed the shot out from inside his near post.

Marek Hamsik then shot into the side netting on 62 minutes after Ogbonna had failed to get a convincing head onto Pablo Armero's cross to the back post.

Juventus doubled their lead on 74 minutes when Tevez won a free-kick on the edge of the Napoli box after an unwise challenge from Gokhan Inler, and Pirlo stroked the set-piece into the top corner from 25 yards.

The big moment of the game came just three minutes later, when Buffon made an instinctive one-handed save at his near post from Lorenzo Insigne after Hamsik had slid a pass beyond Andrea Barzagli into the left channel.

If that shot had gone in, Napoli would have fancied their chances of nicking a point. Instead, Pogba made it 3-0 within a minute with a sensational volley from the left-hand side of the area, despite initially miscontrolling Arturo Vidal's short pass.

Ogbonna was then shown a second yellow card six minutes from the end for a trip on Napoli substitute Dries Mertens.


Paul Pogba (Juventus): The Frenchman produced a fine all-round midfielder's performance. The former Manchester United youngster was resolute in the tackle, always eager to link with Carlos Tevez and Fernado Llorente up front, and capped off the performance with a fine goal.


Juventus: Buffon 7, Barzagli 7, Bonucci 7, Ogbonna 6, Isla 7, Vidal 7, Pirlo 8, Pogba 9, Asamoah 7, Tevez 7, Llorente 7. Subs: Peluso 6, Marchisio 6, Quagliarella 6.

Napoli: Reina 7, Maggio 7, Fernandez 6, Albiol 7, Armero 6, Inler 6, Behrami 7, Callejon 5, Hamsik 7, Insigne 7, Higuain 6. Subs: Zapata 6, Mertens 6.

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