Khedira and Insigne shine as Juventus, Napoli win
ABS-CBN Sports on Nov 20, 2016 10:15 AM
FILE - From left, Juventus’ Dani Alves, Juventus’ Miralem Pjanic, Juventus’ Hernanes, and Juventus’ Leonardo Bonucci, celebrate after Panic scored a goal that was later annulled during a Serie A soccer match between AC Milan and Juventus, at the San Siro stadium in Milan, Italy, Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
ANDREW DAMPF, AP Sports Writer
ROME (AP) — Promoted Pescara proved no test for an understrength Juventus.
Even with Gianluigi Buffon, Giorgio Chiellini and Claudio Marchisio rested and Andrea Barzagli, Miralem Pjanic and Paulo Dybala out injured, the five-time defending champion cruised to a 3-0 win in Serie A on Saturday.
Sami Khedira scored one goal and set up another, Mario Mandzukic and Hernanes also found the target, and Gonzalo Higuain hit the post as the Bianconeri moved seven points ahead of second-place Roma, which visits Atalanta on Sunday.
"The title is won by beating the smaller squads and tonight we showed a lot of respect for Pescara," Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri said.
In the final minutes, Allegri replaced Mandzukic with 16-year-old forward Moise Kean, the first player born in the year 2000 to appear in Serie A.
Earlier, Lorenzo Insigne ended his scoring drought in style, getting both goals and also hitting the crossbar in the space of 10 minutes in Napoli's 2-1 win at Udinese.
Also, Chievo Verona beat visiting Cagliari 1-0.
On Sunday, the Milan derby is the pick of seven matches.
JUVENTUS 3, PESCARA 0
Juventus extended its home unbeaten streak in Serie A to 23 matches.
Khedira opened the scoring in the 36th with a shot through traffic inside the area following a give and take with Mandzukic.
Higuain hit the post with a long shot in the 53rd, failing to take advantage with Pescara goalkeeper Albano Bizzarri out of position.
Ten minutes later, Mandzukic collected a headed pass from Khedira and scored from close range, marking Khedira's first Serie A match with both a goal and an assist.
Hernanes then sealed matters with a long, curving shot, while Juve reserve goalkeeper Neto was hardly tested.
On Tuesday, Juventus visits Sevilla in the Champions League.
Pescara, which has only one win, remained two points from the bottom.
UDINESE 1, NAPOLI 2
With only its third win in seven away matches, last season's runner-up Napoli moved up to fourth place, nine points behind Juventus.
Insigne hadn't scored since April, a run of 1,136 minutes, after finishing with a career-best 12 goals last season.
In the 47th, Insigne redirected a cross from Jose Callejon inside the box for his first.
A minute later, Udinese goalkeeper Orestis Karnezis tipped a long shot from Insigne off the bar.
Insigne had yet another a chance in the 56th, finding himself unmarked inside the area but the 1.63-meter (5-foot-4) winger launched his shot high over the target.
A minute later, Insigne took advantage of poor defending to score his second as Silvan Widmer deflected a cross into his path.
It was Insigne's second brace in Serie A, having first achieved the feat against AC Milan in October 2015.
Napoli manager Maurizio Sarri was impressed, especially since Insigne had a fever a day earlier.
"Considering what he did in those (10) minutes, it was a big confidence booster," Sarri said. "Insigne can go two months without scoring but in the end skills are skills, and it shines through."
Stipe Perica pulled one back for Udinese with a header following a corner but Napoli's defense then clamped down.
Karnezis also stretched out to palm wide a long, low shot from Dries Mertens.
Napoli hadn't won at Udinese since September 2007.
Udinese, which had a four-match unbeaten streak ended, was 14th.
On Wednesday, Napoli hosts Dynamo Kiev in the Champions League.
CHIEVO VERONA 1, CAGLIARI 0
A century of matches proved worth the wait for Chievo Verona's 36-year-old fullback Massimo Gobbi.
Gobbi scored early in the second half to help end Chievo's five-match winless streak, exactly 100 matches after his previous Serie A goal with Parma in September 2013.
Chievo moved up to eighth, two points ahead of Cagliari.
Andrew Dampf on Twitter: www.twitter.com/asdampf