Lazio vs. Juventus: Final score 0-2, Vidal double propels Juve to Olimpico romp

Paolo Bruno

Arturo Vidal was on target twice as Juventus eased past Lazio to go 11 points clear at the top of Serie A with just six matches remaining.

Arturo Vidal played the role of hero for Juventus, notching a brace as The Old Lady cruised to a 2-0 win over Lazio in Rome.

Vladimir Petkovic had to deal with something of an injury crisis in defence, making three changes to the side that drew 1-1 with Roma in last week's derby. Michael Ciani, Marius Stankevicius and Stefano Mauri coming in for Giuseppe Biava, Stefan Radu and Senad Lulic. Antonio Conte had no such injury issues but with a sizeable advantage at the top of the league, has the option of rotating his side anyway. Four changes were effected from the victory over Pescara, with Gianluigi Buffon restored in place of Marco Storari in goal and Andrea Barzagli, Andrea Pirlo and Claudio Marchisio playing in place of Luca Marrone, Emanuele Giaccherini and Sebastian Giovinco.

The match began at a great pace, with both sides forcing corners early on however it was Lazio who forced the first save, Hernanes skipping away from two defenders, his shot saved by Buffon in the Juve goal.

It was Juventus who had the best of the all-action start however, Mirko Vucinic breaking into the box only to be scythed down from behind by Lorik Cana, the Albanian booked for his troubles. Arturo Vidal sent Federico Marchetti the wrong way to give Juventus the advantage.

Marchetti had to be called into action not long later as Vucinic flicked Andrea Pirlo's free kick goalwards however the Italian made a great reflex save to deny the goal.

In truth, the match was relatively equal when it came to the midfield battle however the difference really came in defence, with Lazio's makeshift backline having a nightmare evening. Michael Ciani and Marius Stankevicius looked consistently off the pace of the Juventus attackers whilst Cana, usually solid, was having an evening to forget. He had the chance to bring the scores level after Antonio Candreva's corner was flicked on to him however he miscued his volley whilst unmarked only a couple of yards out and the ball bounced harmlessly away.

The makeshift Lazio defence was punished again just before the half hour mark as Claudio Marchisio's clever run created enough of a diversion to allow Vucinic to find Vidal in the box, the Chilean showing composure to finish past Marchetti for his second of the match.

Marchisio had the opportunity to grab a goal of his own, his touch taking him easily away from Ciani however Cana managed to get across to cover and deflect his shot out of play.

Lazio did manage to carve an opportunity just before half time, Antonio Candreva's wicked free kick from 35 yards forcing Buffon to make a smart save low to his left.

In an attempt to revitalise his side, Lazio coach Vladimir Petkovic threw on Libor Kozak and Ederson for Stefano Mauri and Hernanes at half time and they came closer than they had at any point in the first half soon after the break, a powerful Ciani header forcing a fantastic save out of Buffon.

Down at the other end, Claudio Marchisio had the chance to put the match beyond Lazio after Marchetti parried Andrea Pirlo's free kick out in front of his goal however the midfielder decided to try an acrobatic volley as opposed to a simple header and the ball sailed well over the bar from just a couple of yards.

Juventus were beginning to close out the match, passing the ball around with relative ease and Lazio's attempts to score were looking more and more forlorn. Ederson managed to get the better of Kwadwo Asamoah and crossed for Kozak who was only a couple of yards out however his header went straight downwards then bounced over, a terrible miscue from the Czech striker.

Paul Pogba easily outpaced the hapless Stankevicius after some quick counter attacking from Juventus however he hesitated when well placed to shoot on his left foot and his eventual pass for Marchisio wasn't good enough.

Ogenyi Onazi came close for the hosts, shooting wide after good work down the left hand side from 17-year-old substiture Luca Crecco however Juventus were comfortable in defence and easily held on to go 11 clear at the top of Serie A, despite Miroslav Klose coming close to a consolation with the final kick of the match after charging down Simone Padoin's attempted clearance.

Lazio: Marchetti; Golzalez, Ciani, Cana, Stankevicius; Ledesma (Crecco 67), Onazi; Candreva, Hernanes (Kozak 46), Mauri (Ederson 46); Klose

Juventus: Buffon; Peluso, Barzagli, Bonucci; Lichtsteiner (Padoin 67), Pogba, Pirlo, Vidal, Asamoah; Marchisio (Giaccherini 89); Vucinic (Quagliarella 87)

Goals: Vidal pen 8, 28 (J)

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