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Juventus beats Atalanta 2-0 to open up 4-point lead

Juventus beats Atalanta 2-0 to open up 4-point lead


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TURIN, Italy (AP) — Juventus beat visiting Atalanta 2-0 Wednesday to open up a four-point lead over Napoli that could prove decisive in pursuit of an unprecedented seventh straight Serie A title.

Gonzalo Higuain scored in the first half and Blaise Matuidi doubled the advantage toward the end, shortly after Atalanta was reduced to 10 men.

The match was rescheduled from last month when it was postponed due to a snowstorm.

Juventus has won 12 straight and this is its largest lead of the season. Napoli, which had led for months, has earned only one point from its last two matches.

"We're in the decisive phase of the season," Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri said. "We need to take one step at a time. ... We still need to gather a lot of points to win the title."

In the 29th, Higuain was set up nicely by Douglas Costa on a counterattack to finish off with a drive into the far corner.

In the 89th, Atalanta defender Gianluca Mancini was shown his second yellow for tripping Giorgio Chiellini just outside the area.

Two minutes later, Matuidi was left unmarked to score easily from inside the area.

"Atalanta is a tough squad with a lot of skill but the team ended in crescendo," Allegri said.

Atalanta, which drew 2-2 with Juventus in October, remained eighth.

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