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2016/2017 Italian Serie A
  • Mario Mandzukic (60')
  • Gonzalo HiguaĆ­n (74')

Higuain and Mandzukic score in Juventus' win vs. Crotone

Gonzalo Higuain scores a goal against Crotone in a 2-0 win in Serie A. Getty Images

Juventus moved seven points clear at the top of Serie A following a comfortable 2-0 victory against Crotone on Wednesday evening.

Mario Mandzukic opened the scoring for the visitors on the hour mark before Gonzalo Higuain doubled their advantage with 16 minutes remaining.

Crotone, who remain nine points away from safety, put up an able resistance against the champions but after Mandzukic broke the deadlock the victory never appeared in doubt.

The win marked a fourth consecutive triumph for Massimiliano Allegri's side who have now established clear breathing space between themselves and their rivals as they battle to defend their league crown.

Juventus manager Allegri made five changes to the team that secured a 1-0 victory against Inter Milan on Sunday with on-loan Chelsea forward Juan Cuadrado, who scored the spectacular winner, dropping to the bench.

For Crotone, facing the Old Lady for the first time in the top flight, they also made five changes with key midfielder Lorenzo Crisetig suspended after he was sent off in their 1-0 defeat at Palermo.

While Juventus predictably dominated the opening exchanges at the Stadio Ezio Scida, they created few chances.

Indeed their best opportunity of a tepid opening half came in the closing seconds. Marko Pjaca's header was dealt with by Crotone goalkeeper Alex Cordaz before Paulo Dybala's follow-up was cleared off the line.

After the interval the champions continued to press and with 15 minutes of the second period gone, Mandzukic struck with his fifth league goal of the season.

Former Barcelona defender Dani Alves' cross was met by the head of Kwadwo Asamoah whose effort was parried by Cordaz only for Mandzukic to pounce from close range to and break Crotone's hearts.

Juventus pushed for a second and it arrived after 74 minutes. Tomas Rincon, a January signing from Genoa, slid a fine ball into the path of Higuain and the Argentinian showed even better composure to round Cordaz before tapping the ball into an empty net and claim his 16th league goal.

The champions came close to securing a spectacular third after Miralem Pjanic struck the crossbar with just five minutes remaining. But it did not matter as Juventus closed out the victory and recorded their fourth consecutive clean sheet in as many wins.

Juventus will travel to Cagliari on Sunday while Crotone, now with five defeats from their last seven, host second-placed Roma.