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    Dead-ball Del Piero sees off Siena

    New Delhi: Juventus closed to within four points of Serie A leaders Inter as Alessandro Del Piero's majestic free kick saw them past Siena.

    Serie A resumed after the mid-season break, and Juventus were handed a late Christmas present as Inter were held at home by Cagliari on Saturday night, meaning the Old Lady could cut their lead at the top to four points by beating Siena.

    First Half

    Houssine Kharja started the game brightly for Siena, and after a few minutes of play he lost his man, and fired wide.

    The away side wasted an excellent opportunity a quarter-of-an-hour in, as Ghezzal skipped past Zdenek Grygera, and cut back for Emanuele Calaio, whose shot struck Nicola Legrottaglie. Siena players cried for a penalty for handball but the referee waved away the appeals.

    Kharja was causing Juve all kinds of problems, and midway through the half he turned smartly inside the area before rifling just wide of the near post.

    All the attacking was coming from Siena, as Juve struggled to get their game going, and Calaio was the next to try his luck, heading wide from 12 yards.

    It took until the half-hour mark for Juventus to register their first shot on target, as Del Piero fired tamely at Emanuele Manitta from 30 yards.

    A few minutes later Juve were ahead, and it was that man with Del Piero, who curled a brilliant 25-yard free kick over the wall and past Manitta. Incredibly it was the Golden Boy's sixth free-kick goal of the season already.

    There was little of note for the remainder of the half, as Juve went in at half time a goal to the good.

    Second Half

    Del Piero had another dead-ball opportunity early in the second half, but this time he could not keep his effort down.

    Amauri had Juve's best chance from open play so far on 56 minutes, as Grygera galloped down the right and crossed for the unmarked Brazilian, but his header drifted wide.

    Olof Mellberg nodded straight at Manitta, but it was down the other end where the Swede was decisive as he made a crucial last-gasp tackle to deny substitute Mario Frick.

    Cristiano Zanetti replaced Momo Sissoko, and with his first touch set-up Amauri, who volleyed not far over.

    Juventus continued to control the play, and Del Piero could have killed the game on 72 minutes when he latched onto Amauri's pass, but he lashed into the side-netting.

    Siena had barely threatened in the second half but, with eight minutes remaining, they twice went close to an equaliser. First Manninger was forced to turn Ghezzal's daisycutter around the post. Then, from the following corner, Grygera threw himself into a miraculous block as Ghezzal seemed destined to volley home.

    Christian Poulsen entered after a long injury lay-off to try and see out the game.

    Siena continued to pour forward, and Ghezzal again tested Manninger, but Juventus held out for a narrow win. The Old Lady are now four points behind Serie A leaders Inter.


    Juventus: Manninger, Grygera, Legrottaglie, Mellberg, Molinaro, Marchionni (De Ceglie 73), Marchisio (Pouslen 85), Sissoko (Zanetti 64), Nedved, Del Piero, Amauri

    Siena: Manitta, Del Prete (Zuniga 86), Portanova, Brandao, Del Grosso, Jarolim, Codrea (Packer 70), Galloppa, Kharja, Ghezzal, Calaio (Frick 59)


    Del Piero 33 (J)

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