Soccer: Runaway leaders Juve say title not in the bag
Turin side lead by nine points with 10 games to go11 March, 17:46
(ANSA) - Turin, March 11 - Juventus insist they still have a lot to do even though the Italian media are saying the Turin giants have the Serie A title in the bag after they moved nine points clear at the top of Serie A.
The reigning champions extended their lead on Sunday with a 1-0 home win over Catania, thanks to midfielder Emanuele Giaccherini's stoppage-time goal, while second-placed Napoli lost 2-0 at Chievo Verona.
La Gazzetta dello Sport's front-page headline on Monday was 'Black-and-White Smoke' - a clever reference both to the club's colours and this week's conclave to elect the next pope.
But Juve coach Antonio Conte is taking a more prudent line.
"Today's victory was important but we still haven't won anything," he said.
"We'll immediately turn our attentions to our next match against Bologna and treat it like it were a final".
Captain Gianluigi Buffon also warned against taking anything for granted.
"We kept trying and believed in ourselves right until the end and managed to get the victory," said the Italy goalkeeper.
"But now we need to stay alert because the last time we increased our advantage, we slipped up the following Sunday".
Juve's campaign this season has been slightly less impressive than last term's, when they were unbeaten in Serie A.
With a European drive that has taken them to the quarter-finals of the Champions League sapping energy, they have lost four times this season.
But they still enjoy a comfortable advantage because of the failings of their scudetto rivals. Napoli have not won any of their last five league games and their struggles have been exacerbated by Uruguay striker Edinson Cavani's recent goal drought. Cavani is Serie A's top scorer with 18 goals but he has not scored in over a month and he fluffed a penalty on Sunday.
Third-placed Milan are in good form but they made a poor start to the campaign after selling Sweden striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Brazil forward Paris Saint-Germain in the summer.
They are trailing by 11 points, which looks too much ground to make up with 10 games to go. Inter Milan, meanwhile, are in the middle of a form crisis that has seen them drop to fifth place and put coach Andrea Stramaccioni's future in doubt.
Juve's wariness about considering the title battle over may have something to do recollections of the 1999-2000 campaign, when they also led by nine points close to the end of the season only to be overtaken by Lazio on the last day.