Juventus 3 Atalanta 1: Alex Sandro stunner helps Allegri's side return to winning ways

Alex Sandro's spectacular solo effort set the tone for Juventus as Massimiliano Allegri's side returned to winning ways with a resounding 3-1 victory over Serie A's surprise package, Atalanta.

Injury-hit Juve, who slumped to a surprise 3-1 defeat to Genoa last time out, raced ahead inside 15 minutes at Juventus Stadium, Brazil defender Alex Sandro powering home a shot from the edge of the area - and then dedicating his strike to the players and staff of Chapecoense following the recent plane-crash tragedy in Colombia.

Atalanta's success this term has been built on their solid defence, but Juve wasted no time in exerting their authority when Daniele Rugani's header doubled their advantage.

The hosts threatened to run riot after the interval, though they did not extend their lead until Mario Mandzukic got in on the act after 63 minutes - the Croatian capping-off a superb individual display with a brilliant header, although Remo Freuler did pull one back for Atalanta in the closing stages.

Juve's victory represents a 13th-successive triumph over Atalanta in the league, and moves the champions, temporarily at least, seven points clear of Roma and Milan.

The hosts' sluggish start cost them against Genoa last week, but it appeared Allegri's side had learnt their lessons from that defeat as they dominated the early stages this time.

Gonzalo Higuain was the first to test Atalanta's defence - which had kept four clean sheets from the previous five Serie A fixtures - goalkeeper Marco Sportiello doing well to deny the Argentina striker.

However, Juve did make their dominance count soon enough, Alex Sandro weaving his way in from the left before thumping into the bottom corner from 20 yards for his first goal of the season.

That strike sparked Juve's attack into full flow, and Higuain would almost certainly have doubled their advantage straight from the restart had it not been for a fantastic last-ditch challenge by Mattia Caldara.

Things did get worse for the visitors a few moments later, though, when slack marking allowed Rugani to steal in unmarked and head home Miralem Pjanic's excellent corner.

Pjanic, revelling in a free role behind Higuain and Mandzukic, went close himself as the half-hour mark approached, Sportiello just managing to tip over the playmaker's dipping free-kick.

For all their control, Juve almost found themselves pegged back prior to the interval, but a series of superb blocks from Mandzukic kept them ahead, as he prevented Jasmin Kurtic from heading in before twice covering for Gianluigi Buffon.

Atalanta started the second half brightly, but Andrea Petagna failed to test Buffon from close range in their only meaningful attack.

Juve maintained the pressure, though, and Sportiello was again called into action when Claudio Marchisio tried his luck from 25 yards - Atalanta's shot-stopper getting down sharply to parry the strike wide.

Sportiello could do nothing to deny Mandzukic a deserved goal in the 64th minute, as the former Bayern Munich striker nodded home from another pin-point Pjanic corner.

Atalanta did restore some pride when Freuler slotted in a consolation strike from Marco D'Alessandro's cross, before Mario Lemina hit the post at the other end as the visitors' nine-game unbeaten run in Serie A came to an end.

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