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Soccer: Juventus insist title race is not over yet

Champions moved eight points clear with 3-0 win over Roma

07 January, 12:03
Soccer: Juventus insist title race is not over yet (ANSA) - Rome, January 7 - Juventus have insisted they do not consider the Serie A title race already in the bag after they moved eight points clear at the top of the table with Sunday's 3-0 drubbing of second-placed AS Roma.

Goals by Arturo Vidal, Leonardo Bonucci and Mirko Vucinic enabled the reigning champions to hand Roma their first defeat of the season.

Roma, who had led the standings by five points after setting a new record for the best start to a Serie A season by winning their first 10 games, ended the game in nine men as midfielder Daniele De Rossi and Brazilian defender Leandro Castan were both sent off.

"The eight-point gap is important but we can't afford to let it deceive us and lose concentration," said Juve coach Antonio Conte.

"Anything is still possible, just look at how we've made up 13 points on Roma".

Juve have piled up a massive total of 49 points, winning all but two of the 18 matches disputed so far and all of their last 10, with one game to go to the season's half-way mark.

Roma's French coach Rudi Garcia, who has transformed the Giallorossi since arriving in the close season following several disappointing campaigns, agreed that there was a long way to go.

But he was also coy about his side's championship ambitions.

"We have to push on and get back to winning ways as quickly as possible," said Garcia.

"There are another 60 points to play for before the season is out so the league is not over. "But, as I've said lots of times, our target was never to win the title, but to get back into Europe (next season)".

Brazil playmaker Kaka scored his 100th and 101st goals to help struggling AC Milan beat Atalanta 3-0 on Monday. Seven-time European champions Milan are 11th with 22 points, 27 behind Juve. Lazio defeated Inter Milan 1-0 thanks to a Miroslav Klose volley to give Edy Reja a winning start to his second stint as their coach.

Third-placed Napoli beat Sampdoria 2-0 while promoted Hellas Verona won 3-1 at Udinese to leapfrog Inter and climb to fifth place.

Fourth-place Fiorentina beat Tuscan rivals 1-0 on Sunday but their triumph was overshadowed by a knee injury to Serie A's top scorer Giuseppe Rossi.

The Italy forward damaged ligaments in his right knee, the same one he suffered two cruciate ligament injuries that sidelined him for two years.

He is expected to be out for two months, which is a setback to his hopes of playing for Italy at this year's World Cup in Brazil.