Pirlo’s late goal helps Juventus beat Genoa 1-0

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MILAN (AP) - Andrea Pirlo’s late goal saw Juventus maintain its charge to a third successive Serie A title as it beat Genoa 1-0 on Sunday to extend its lead to 17 points.

Pirlo fired home a free kick two minutes from time as Juventus struggled to a victory after Gianluigi Buffon had saved Emanuele Calaio’s penalty.

Roma, which hosts Udinese on Monday, has two games in hand on Antonio Conte’s men.

“Only a great team could come here and win on this pitch against this team, which had the game of their lives,” Conte said. “I don’t want to say how close we are to the title, I hope to win it, but we are having an extraordinarily fantastic championship.”

Third-place Napoli visits Torino on Monday and is seven points ahead of Fiorentina, which beat Chievo Verona 3-1.

Earlier, AC Milan fought back from two goals down but lost 4-2 at home to Parma after playing almost the entire match with 10 men.

Elsewhere, bottom club Sassuolo beat 19th-place Catania 3-1 and nine-man Livorno beat Bologna 2-1 in tense relegation battles.

Bologna has replaced Livorno in the bottom three.

Lazio won 2-0 at Catania while Atalanta eased to a 3-0 win over Sampdoria.

Juventus striker Pablo Osvaldo had two goals ruled out for tight offside decisions in a fiery first half.

Genoa had the best chance to break the deadlock when it was awarded a penalty in the 71st minute after Arturo Vidal had handled in the area, but Buffon dove smartly to his left to deny Calaio. It was a fitting way to mark Buffon’s 476th appearance for Juventus, which matches legendary goalkeeper Dino Zoff’s tally.

And Juventus stole all three points when Pirlo curled a trademark free kick into the top left corner.

Fiorentina ended a run of four games without a win as Chievo wasted a number of chances.

It took the lead when Juan Guillermo Cuadrado passed to David Pizarro, then raced into the area to volley the return ball into the back of the net.

Alessandro Matri doubled Fiorentina’s advantage after some great work by Anderson and, although Alberto Paloschi grabbed one back for Chievo, Mario Gomez sealed the result with his first league goal since returning from a lengthy spell out with injury.

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