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Juventus win scrappy tie versus Torino

Rome: League leaders Juventus strengthened their grip on the Serie A title by defeating local rivals Torino 2-0 in a bad-tempered Derby clash at the Delle Alpi Stadium Saturday.

An own goal by Gianluca Comotto and a late header from Alessio Tacchinardi settled a scrappy contest marred by four red cards. Bottom club Torino ended the match with eight players following the dismissals of Cristiano Lucarelli, Luca Mezzano and Carlos Marinelli, while Juventus had Croat defender Igor Tudor sent off.

Juventus’ joy at claiming their ninth home victory of the season, however, was tempered by first-half injuries to Czech international Pavel Nedved and French striker David Trezeguet.

Midfielder Nedved injured his right thigh, while Trezeguet tore a muscle in his left shoulder.

Juventus have 60 points from 27 matches, eight more than third-placed AC Milan who lost 0-1 at Parma, their fifth league defeat of the season.

Adriano’s stunning goal 13 minutes from time proved decisive and dented Milan’s hopes of winning the title they last won in 1999.

Trezeguet has been ruled out of Wednesday’s Champions League quarter-final first-leg tie against Barcelona.

“Obviously I am happy to take three points, but I’m concerned about the injuries,” Juventus coach Marcelo Lippi said. “It’s a shame. Every time we get a player back, another one gets injured.”

Tacchinardi said the win was far from easy, despite Torino’s lowly position in the table. “In the second-half we looked nervous so I was relieved when my goal went in,” he said.

“We haven’t played well in the last couple of weeks but we have been getting good results.”

Juventus were handed the perfect start in the sixth minute when Torino defender Comotto put through his own net.

Nedved stormed into the visitors’ penalty area and delivered a low cross that was meant for teammate Trezeguet.

Comotto anticipated the delivery but instead of clearing the danger, he succeeded only in diverting the ball past his own goalkeeper Luca Bucci to gift the home side an early goal.

Nedved and Trezeguet limped off before Tudor and Lucarelli were sent off for exchanging blows following a 20-man fracas, sparked by Simone Vergassola’s ugly challenge on Alessandro del Piero.

Torino were reduced to nine men 11 minutes into the second-half when Mezzano saw red for his second bookable offence, and Marinelli soon joined him for an early bath after pushing referee Massimo de Santis. Amazingly, eight-man Torino could have drawn level four minutes from the end.

Stefano Fattori broke through with only Gianluca Buffon to beat but took too long over his shot, allowing the Juve keeper time to block his delayed effort.

Tacchinardi rubbed salt into Torino’s wounds by heading Mauro Camoranesi’s free-kick past Bucci two minutes from time.

Parma boost hopes

AC Milan were made to pay for their profligacy away to Parma who boosted their hopes of qualifying for next season’s Champions League.

Filippo Inzaghi, Milan’s top goal-scorer, wasted two gilt-edged chances and Dutch midfielder Clarence Seedorf hit the crossbar before Adriano’s late winner.

Adrian Mutu’s left-wing cross picked out Brazilian Adriano, whose cheeky back-heel flew past Milan goalkeeper Dida for his 13th goal of the season.

Parma’s win took them level on 45 points with fourth-placed Lazio who have a better goal difference and a game in hand.

Adriano said there was still plenty of work to do if they were to edge Lazio for fourth place. “We know that the championship is long and difficult. We have seven games left to try and make the Champions League and will fight to the very end,” he said.

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