MILAN (AFP) – A pair of stunning strikes from Paul Pogba and Arturo Vidal and Martin Caceres’ first Serie A goal in over two years sent Juventus three points clear of Roma on Sunday following a 3-1 win away to Napoli.
Roma had pulled level on points with leaders and champions Juve after battling from 2-0 down against Lazio to claim a share of the spoils at a thrilling Stadio Olimpico clash earlier in the day.
Roma’s hopes of a Napoli win were valid – Juventus’ last league win at the San Paolo came in 2000 – but Rafael Benitez’s men were handed a warning just before half-time when Pogba fired a wonderful volley past Rafael Cabral.
A mix-up in the box saw Carlos Tevez’s shot bounce off Fernando Llorente and out towards Pogba, who leaned back and teed up before firing a crisp volley past the outstretched hands of Rafael for his fourth goal of the campaign.
Although defender Miguel Britos levelled just after the hour with a fine close-range volley from a corner, Napoli were trailing again soon after.
Caceres was left unmarked to bundle Andrea Pirlo’s curling free kick past Rafael at the ‘keeper’s back post to restore Juve’s lead on 69 minutes.
It was only the Uruguayan’s fourth goal in Serie A but his first since hitting the net for Juve, while on loan from Barcelona, against Napoli in October 2012.
Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis later claimed officials had turned a blind eye to the fact Giorgio Chiellini looked offside for the goal.
“We’re tired of this! Juve are a strong side… but if they are helped by the referees they become unbeatable,” De Laurentiis said on Twitter.
But Juve coach Massimiliano Allegri played down the claims: “Mistakes happen… coaches, players and presidents make them so why shouldn’t referees?
“It’s disappointing to see someone trying to stir up trouble after such a great match. But this is Italy, and nobody accepts defeat or decisions.”
Napoli spurned a great chance to grab a share of the points, Gonzalo Higuain firing just wide of Buffon’s far post after a nice slalom into the box after Dries Mertens’s through ball.
But on a Juve counter, late substitute Alvaro Morata broke down the left before sighting Vidal in space just outside the area.
The Chilean took two touches before firing a drive past Rafael and into the top corner of the net.Earlier, a second-half brace by captain Francesco Totti saved Roma’s blushes after Stefano Mauri and Felipe Anderson had given Lazio a 2-0 first-half lead.