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Football: Juve on title track as Roma and Viola win

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

A pair of late goals courtesy of Arturo Vidal and Claudio Marchisio handed Juventus a 2-0 win over Torino in the Turin derby on Sunday and kept the champions on track for a successful title defence.

Elsewhere, Fiorentina moved up to third at the expense of AC Milan, who host Catania in Sunday's late match, thanks to a 3-0 rout away to Sampdoria.

Pablo Osvaldo scored a hat-trick and Erik Lamela one goal as Roma trounced Siena 4-0 at the Olympic Stadium to move up to fifth, while Palermo moved out of the relegation zone thanks to a shock 1-0 win at home to Inter Milan.

Inter's 13th reverse of the season was compounded by an Achilles tendon injury suffered by captain Javier Zanetti, and left the Nerazzurri in seventh, eight points off Fiorentina, who occupy the third and last Champions League place.

Juventus started the day having seen their 11-point lead over Napoli reduced to eight after the southerners' win over Pescara in Saturday's late game.

And after a stubborn display from the hosts at a rain-hit Olympic Stadium, it took a sublime goal from Vidal four minutes from the final whistle to send Juve's bench into raptures.

Six minutes later Marchisio sealed Juve's 25th win of the campaign which restored their 11-point lead on Napoli with just 12 points up for grabs in the remaining four games.

"Compliments to Torino because they made life difficult for us. But we wanted to win this game and we achieved that aim," said Juve coach Antonio Conte.

"Vidal and Marchisio's goals were crucial, now we only need one point to celebrate a second successive Scudetto with three games remaining: that would be extraordinary."

Torino came into this match determined to end a victory drought over their city rivals which stretched back to 1995. Indeed, the Granate had not scored against Juventus in a league game since a 2-2 draw in 2002.

But despite frustrating Juventus throughout, Giampietro Ventura's men lacked the final touch.

Ventura had replaced striker Riccardo Meggiorini with Jonathas in the closing stages and the Brazilian narrowly failed to make contact with Alessio Cerci's inviting pass across goal while Leonardo Bonucci was tugging at his shirt.

Torino's claims for a penalty were waved away and on the counter Kwadwo Asamoah's cross to the back post for Paul Pogba saw the Frenchman miss the target from only a metre out.

Moments later, Marchisio squared the ball for Vidal and from 25 metres the Chilean took one touch before beating Gillet in the Torino net with a precise dipping shot.

"It's the most important goal I've scored since I've been here, now we're within touching distance of the Scudetto," said Vidal.

Torino were reduced to 10 men in the closing stages when Polish defender Kamil Glik saw red for a second bookable offence following a foul on Quagliarella, meaning he has been sent off in both derbies this season.

In the second minute of injury time, Juve made it two.

Andrea Pirlo's freekick to the back post was headed back across goal by Fabio Quagliarella, and while Vidal missed with a diving header it left Marchisio free to fire into the top of the net.

Fiorentina's win came thanks to goals from Juan Cuadrado, Adem Ljajic and Alberto Aquilani and has left Milan needing to beat Catania if they are to reclaim third place.

"It was a perfect Sunday, we got the result we wanted and we played great football," said Viola coach Vincenzo Montella.

But he insisted: "We're not thinking about third place. We'll see at the end of the season."

Francesco Totti, meanwhile, failed to score but set up Osvaldo for his first and Lamela two minutes later before providing Argentine-born Italian Osvaldo's third.

After a mid-season lull, Roma are now up to fifth and in contention for a place in the Europa League.

jd/cw

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130428/football-juve-title-track-roma-and-viola-win-1