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Vlahovic double lifts Juventus to top of Serie A

Juventus forward Dusan Vlahovic hits towards goal against Lecce. Photo: Carlo Hermann/AFP

Juventus won 3-0 at Lecce on Sunday to move to the top of Serie A and bring down the curtain on a weekend dominated by racist abuse aimed at Milan goalkeeper Mike Maignan in Udine.

With leaders Inter away in Saudi Arabia preparing for their Italian Super Cup final against Napoli on Monday, Juventus and Dusan Vlahovic stayed hot at home.

Juventus struck three times in the second half in Lecce to give coach Max Allegri his 300th Serie A victory. They stretched their league unbeaten run to 16 matches, winning a fifth straight and moving to the top of the table for the first time since they ended the 2019-20 season as champions.

Vlahovic put Juventus ahead after 59 minutes with an ungainly volley that bounced inside the far post. 

Nine minutes later, Weston McKennie outjumped the home defence at the far post. His header was crossing the line as Vlahovic flicked a boot at it to claim the goal.

Vlahovic also scored a brace on Tuesday against Sassuolo.

Gleison Bremer completed an decisive victory with an emphatic header five minutes from time.

“We had to be patient against a solid team that is very effective at home, so it’s an important win for us,” said Vlahovic, who took his league tally to 11 this season, one more than in last year’s campaign.

“I’m feeling good physically, much better than last year, we’ve got to keep going like this,” he said.

Juventus visit Inter, who are a point behind, on February 4.

AC Milan are seven points back in third after they cane from behind to win 3-2 at Udinese on Saturday in a game halted when Maignan left the field in the first half following persistent racist abuse.

Maignan said that he had first heard monkey chants when he collected the ball for his first goal kick, after which he “said nothing”.

“Then for the second goal kick they did it again. I called to the dugout and the fourth official and I told them what had happened. I said that we can’t play in these conditions.”

The referee Fabio Maresca stopped play for a period of five minutes. 

“It is easy to act in a group, in the anonymity from the stands,” Maignan wrote on X on Sunday.

“The spectators who were in the stand, who saw everything, who heard everything, but who chose to remain silent, you are complicit.” 

The Italian Football Federation is due to decide on Tuesday what punishment to hand out to Udinese.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino called for worldwide stadium bans for fans and “automatic forfeits” for teams whose supporters hurl “abhorrent” abuse following the incidents.

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