Juventus 4 Palermo 0: Champions go nine points clear


Juventus dispatched Palermo 4-0 to take full advantage of Napoli's defeat at Inter by moving nine points clear at the top of Serie A with five games remaining. 

Having watched nearest challengers Napoli slip up 2-0 at San Siro on Saturday, the champions made it seven league wins on the bounce to edge closer to retaining the title. 

Sami Khedira's exquisitely taken volley gave the home side the ideal start before Paul Pogba, Juan Cuadrado and Simone Padoin made sure of the victory with second-half goals.

The only downside for Massimiliano Allegri's side came when Claudio Marchisio was carried off on a stretcher with a knee injury following a collision with a Palermo player, sparking fitness concerns with Euro 2016 looming large on the horizon. 

While Juve are on course for a fifth successive title, Palermo continue their slide towards Serie B with a seventh loss in nine Serie A games.

Juve started the game on the front foot as expected and went close inside the fourth minute when Khedira reacted first to a Pogba blocked shot and dragged an effort narrowly wide.

Palermo struggled to get out of their own half and paid the price as the home side took a 10th-minute lead.

Pogba had all the time in the world to dink a ball over the Palermo back line, where Khedira had made the run, and the former Real Madrid man volleyed past Stefano Sorrentino.

The lively Pogba was involved again when he struck a volley into the ground that almost beat Sorrentino, although the 37-year-old did well to tip the ball onto the crossbar and out for a corner.

Aleksandar Trajkovski had a golden chance to equalise after he was slid through on goal by Franco Vazquez, but his dink over Buffon was cleared off the line by Andrea Barzagli.

Palermo were inches from levelling a minute before half-time when Ivaylo Chochev had a shot from inside the penalty area that deflected past the top-left corner by Mario Lemina with Buffon beaten.

Patrice Evra steered a header wide from Paulo Dybala's free-kick as Juve finished the first half strongly.

Pogba almost caught out an unprepared Sorrentino with a 30-yard free-kick in the 12th minute of the second half, though his effort was narrowly over with the goalkeeper scrambling.

Lemina tried a shot from similar distance soon after and Sorrentino was this time in position to parry the ball away for a corner.

Barzagli was required to make a vital intervention at the other end as Vazquez played Trajkovski through on the left side before the striker knocked in a teasing delivery that the Italy international dealt with well.

Pogba gave Juventus some much-needed breathing room with just under 20 minutes left as substitute Alvaro Morata sent in a teasing cross from the left side that beat everyone before the France international was on hand to poke home at the far post.

Cuadrado then added a wonderful solo goal. The on-loan Chelsea man ran at the Palermo defence before flicking the ball over a defender and finishing with a stinging shot that Sorrentino could only parry into the top left corner.

Padoin netted his first of the season, adding to the visitors' misery with a calm finish in the final minute of the match, slotting into the bottom corner after Morata had played him through to earn his second assist off the bench.