Juventus beat Roma to maintain grip on Serie A
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Another day, another three points. Juventus's doughty defence of their Serie A title claimed another scalp on Saturday night as Roma were vanquished 1-0 at the Allianz Stadium in Turin.
Mario Mandzukic headed in the winner 34 minutes into the match to restore Juve's eight point lead over second placed Napoli.
The defeat could have been harsher but the Roma goalkeeper Robin Olsen was in scintillating form to deny Cristiano Ronaldo on several occasions.
"We are doing good things," said Juve boss Massimo Allegri. "We have reached the Champions League last 16 and we're the "winter champions."
But sitting atop the tree at Christmas only has nominal renown. The allure rests in primacy in May. And the Old Lady - Juve's nickname - is showing noteworthy vigour.
'Old Lady' rules
Juve have won 16 and drawn one of their 17 matches to boast 49 points as they seek an unprecedented eighth consecutive title.
Games against Atalanta and Sampdoria on 26 and 29 December respectively will be followed by a three week break before Allegri's men resume their campaign at home against Chievo on 21 January.
"We haven't won anything yet," warned Allegri. "The important thing is to be a few points ahead of Napoli on the 29th of December."
Roma, after finishing third last season, are 25 points behind Juventus and drop to 10th.
Napoli consolidated second place a few hours before Juve's match with Roma when Raul Albiol scored his first goal of the season to see off SPAL.
"Thinking of Juventus is likely to demotivate us," said Napoli coach Carlo Ancelotti. "We have to think about ourselves because this team can do more."
Inter Milan remain third with 33 points following a 1-1 draw at bottom club Chievo.
City rivals AC are fifth after slumping to a 1-0 defeat at Fiorentina. AC have taken two points from their last three games and have been eliminated from the Europa League.
"There's no use looking at who's to blame," said AC coach Gennaro Gattuso. "The team is going through a bad moment."