Turin (Italy), Feb 16 (IANS) Juventus added to their already formidable lead atop Serie A with a 3-0 victory against 19th-place Frosinone.
With 66 points from 24 matches, the Bianconeri have an advantage of 14 points over Napoli, though the southern club have a game in hand, Efe news reported.
Juve, still undefeated this season in Serie A, might have been expected to see Friday’s contest against Frosinone as an opportunity to rest key players ahead of next week’s Champions League clash with Atletico Madrid.
But coach Massimiliano Allegri left only two regular starters out of the line-up, Miralem Pjanic and Blaise Matuidi, evidently with the idea of securing the three points early so he could afford to take some of his stars off the pitch in the second half.
The plan worked to perfection.
Paulo Dybala put Juve up 1-0 in the sixth minute with a blast from 20 yards out after taking a pass from Cristiano Ronaldo.
Frosinone, who came into the match at Turin’s Allianz stadium after two consecutive away wins, found themselves with no answers against the seven-time reigning Serie A champions.
The hosts’ lead doubled in the 17th minute when defender Leonardo Bonucci nudged the ball into the Frosinone net after a poor clearance by goalkeeper Marco Sportiello.
And because no Juventus match this season seems complete without a Ronaldo goal, the Portuguese superstar scored in the 63rd minute with an assist from Mario Mandzukic to make it 3-0 for the home side.
It was the striker’s 19th goal in Serie A since coming over to Juventus last summer from Real Madrid.
Job done, Allegri signalled a double-substitution in the 70th minute: Federico Bernardeschi for Ronaldo and Martin Caceres for team captain and defensive anchor Giorgio Chiellini.
Juve’s domination was such that they could give themselves the luxury of some tactical experimentation, with defender Joao Cancelo shifting from his usual spot on the right to take up an aggressive forward position on the left side of the pitch.
Allegri had said on Thursday at his pre-match press conference that he wanted his squad to play well against Frosinone to generate enthusiasm ahead of next week’s visit to Madrid.
Italy’s winningest club has set its sights on hoisting the Champions League trophy this season. The Bianconeri reached the final in 2015 and 2017, only to lose to Barcelona and Real Madrid, respectively.