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Juventus back in business, Balotelli makes mark

Sunday 3 February 2013 22.01 CET
Alessandro Matri is mobbed by his team-mates

Juventus restored their three-point lead at the Serie A summit with a hard-earned 2-1 victory at AC Chievo Verona, before Mario Balotelli enjoyed a dream debut with AC Milan.

With SSC Napoli's weekend win drawing them level on points with Antonio Conte's charges, an immediate response was paramount. Alessandro Matri provided it in stunning style after just ten minutes, taking receipt of Arturo Vidal's floated pass and finding the net with a venomous volley. Juve then doubled their lead with a beautifully crafted team goal shortly before the break as Sebastian Giovinco back-heeled into the path Stephan Lichtsteiner, who lifted the ball in.

Cyril Théréau's second-half strike had Juventus wobbling, but that was as good as it got for Chievo, who dropped to 12th. The result also took the champions nine points clear of third-placed S.S. Lazio, who fought back from two goals behind before yielding to Marco Rigoni's added-time winner at Genoa CFC.

AC Milan are up to fourth, meanwhile, following a two-goal debut for Balotelli against Udinese Calcio. The former Manchester City FC striker finished from close range after 25 minutes and sealed a 2-1 win with a penalty in added time after Giampiero Pinzi had levelled the scores. The Rossoneri thus leapfrogged FC Internazionale Milano, who had Cristian Chivu sent off in a 3-1 reverse at AC Siena.

Elsewhere, ACF Fiorentina eased past Parma FC 2-0, bottom club US Città di Palermo lost 2-1 against Atalanta BC and Pescara Calcio succumbed 3-2 at home to Bologna FC.

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