Higuain scores again as Juventus extend lead over Roma
MILAN: If Gonzalo Higuain continues like this, he could break his own Serie A record.
Higuain scored his eighth goal in his last six league matches to set Serie A leader Juventus on its way to a 2-0 win at Sassuolo on Sunday, in an almost perfect weekend for the Bianconeri.
It was the Argentine's 15th goal of the season, moving him level with Inter Milan striker Mauro Icardi and Roma's Edin Dzeko at the top of the goalscoring charts.
Higuain scored 36 goals last season for Napoli to break a 66-year-old Serie A record before transferring to Juventus for an Italian-record 90 million euros ($100 million).
Juventus' title rivals dropped points and Massimiliano Allegri's side — which has a game in hand — extended its lead in Serie A back to four points over second-placed Roma and six above Napoli.
"Regardless of Roma's defeat, the season is still long," Allegri said. "For us it was important to win, the team did well, we only made too many mistakes at the end of the first half.
"We have to improve in front of goal, because we create a lot but we're not scoring much."
It took Higuain less than nine minutes to open the scoring as a delightful backheel from Mario Mandzukic released Alex Sandro on the left and he crossed in for Higuain to tap in from eight yards.
Higuain turned provider in the 25th, stealing the ball from Paolo Cannavaro in midfield and bursting down the left before putting in a cross, allowed through thanks to Paulo Dybala's dummy and fired in by Sami Khedira.
Dyabala almost extended Juve's lead in the 54th but his effort crashed off the right post with Sassuolo goalkeeper Andrea Consigli beaten.
Sampdoria 3, Roma 2
Roma's title challenge took a blow as it fell to a controversial defeat at Sampdoria.
Roma got off to the perfect start as it took the lead in the fifth minute when Sampdoria goalkeeper Christian Puggioni could only parry Emerson Palmieri's speculative shot and Bruno Peres drilled in the rebound for his first goal for the club.
Samp leveled in the 21st as Luis Muriel burst down the right and crossed in for Dennis Praet to fire into the top right corner.
It was the first goal Roma had conceded in 2017.
Edin Dzeko restored Roma's lead in the 66th, slotting Emerson's cross into the bottom left corner, but its advantage lasted just five minutes before Patrik Schick leveled, less than a minute and a half after coming off the bench.
And Sampdoria took the lead two minutes later when Muriel's free kick was deflected in off the back of Roma midfielder Radja Nainggolan, wrongfooting goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny.
Roma felt it should have had a penalty deep in stoppage time but Dzeko, who was brought down by Bartosz Bereszynski, was flagged offside.
"The penalty on Dzeko was easy to read for the level of Italian referees," Roma coach Luciano Spalletti said. "There's little to do, the linesman was distracted for a second and judged it badly.
"The referee would have given the penalty but didn't because the linesman blew for an offside which wasn't. It's a penalty and that's it and that incident hurts us."
Napoli 1, Palermo 1
Napoli's five-match winning streak was surprisingly halted as Diego Lopez got off to a positive start in charge of relegation-threatened Palermo.
Lopez became Palermo's fourth coach of the season on Thursday, two days after Eugenio Corini resigned.
Palermo has won only two league matches all season, but led for an hour at Napoli after Ilija Nestorovski headed it in front in the sixth minute.
Palermo goalkeeper Josip Posavec pulled off a number of crucial saves, including sticking out a leg to deflect Dries Mertens' effort onto the crossbar.
However, he was at fault for Napoli's equaliser, as he failed to hold Mertens' effort and the ball squirmed through his legs.
Posavec made up for his error with further saves and Napoli also wasted several chances. Lorenzo Insigne missed a clear chance in stoppage time, firing wide of the right upright from close range.
Moments earlier, Palermo defender Edoardo Goldaniga had been shown a straight red card for a dangerous tackle on Mertens.
Genoa came back from two goals down to snatch a 3-3 draw at Fiorentina with a last-gasp penalty.
Josip Ilicic gave Fiorentina the lead with a goal on his birthday and Federico Chiesa doubled its advantage early in the second half.
But two goals in as many minutes from Giovanni Simeone and Oscar Hiljemark saw Genoa level for three minutes before Nikola Kalinic restored Fiorentina's lead.
Simeone rescued a point with a penalty four minutes from time after Federico Bernardeschi was sent off for handball.
AC Milan's misery continued as it lost 2-1 at Udinese. Giacomo Bonaventura, who later went off injured, gave the visitors the lead in the eighth minute, but Cyril Thereau and Rodrigo De Paul fired Udinese to victory.
Milan was third last month but has only won one of its last six league matches and has slipped eight points behind third-placed Napoli.
Diego Falcinelli scored a hat-trick as Crotone beat Empoli 4-1 in a relegation fight, while Cagliari rescued a 1-1 draw at home to Bologna after the visitors were reduced to nine men.