Sports

Serie A: Bianconeri conquer Bologna, Catania crush Udinese

Vucinic Bologna 2-0Juventus marched on toward a 29th Serie A title by winning 2-0 at Bologna on Saturday to provisionally extend its lead to 12 points.

Juventus broke the deadlock in the 64th minute when Claudio Marchisio set up Mirko Vucinic. The forward, who had his back to goal, swiveled and fired the ball into the net in an almost exact copy of his goal at the same stadium last season.  Vucinic turned provider 10 minutes later, playing a quick one-two with Marchisio, who beat the offside trap to double Juve’s advantage.

We’re flying, we’re doing important things but we have to continue,” Juventus coach Antonio Conte said. ”We’ve taken a huge step forwards today, that’s without doubt and we have to reach our goal. There are still 27 points available, we’re in a deserved position but we’ll keep our foot on the gas.”

Bologna had won only won one of its past 22 meetings against Juventus but it provided Conte’s men with a real scare early on. Alberto Gilardino raced through on goal but goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon rushed out of the area and timed his tackle with his feet to perfection.

Gilardino also had a goal rightly ruled out for offside at the start of the second half as Bologna’s run of three successive wins came to an end. Bologna has not won four consecutive topflight matches since 1967.  Second-place Napoli hosts Atalanta on Sunday needing a win to keep its slim title hopes alive, with just nine rounds left after this weekend.

Conte caused outrage towards the end of the match when he turned to the Juve support screaming ‘‘come on”, repeatedly raising his arms up and punching the air in celebration. That infuriated the Bologna fans, who began to jeer, as well as opposing coach Stefano Pioli. ”Have respect, you don’t do that,” Pioli told Juventus assistant coach Angelo Alessio, before adding afterward to reporters: ‘‘Conte’s celebration was a little exaggerated, because it incites not only his own fans but also ours.”

Conte was unapologetic and started to get angry as he spoke after the match. “If I can’t even celebrate with my own fans after a victory which is fundamental to achieve our goal, tell me what I should do,” he said. “I only celebrated with the Juventus fans. I know that it annoys so many people when we win, but there was no lack of respect at all.

“Let’s talk about more serious thing, the people who welcomed us with sticks and stones, the people with kids in their arms who were swearing. It’s these people that should be ashamed, not me. I will always celebrate with my fans wherever. If I am winning the title, I don’t see why I should not celebrate together with my fans.”

In another game played yesterday afternoon, an Alejandro Gomez brace and Francesco Lodi free kick saw Catania crushUdinese 3-1 to keep their European hopes alive.

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