Juventus go top, Napoli frustrated at Genoa

Wed Sep 21, 2016 6:18pm EDT
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ROME (Reuters) - Champions Juventus returned to the top of Serie A with a 4-0 home rout of Cagliari on Wednesday, while former leaders Napoli dropped to second after being held to a goalless draw at Genoa.

First-half efforts from Daniele Rugani, Gonzalo Higuain and Dani Alves and a late own goal from Luca Ceppitelli helped Juve ease to their fourth win of the season and up to 12 points, one ahead of Napoli on 11.

Inter Milan beat Empoli 2-0 away after a first-half double from Mauro Icardi to go fifth on 10 points, while Roma jumped to third, also on 10, after thrashing Crotone 4-0.

Juve were criticized after their loss to Inter on Sunday and boss Massimiliano Allegri made six changes to his team, with record signing Gonzalo Higuain restored to the starting lineup.

However, it was defender Rugani who opened the scoring with a poacher's finish, reacting first to tap past Marco Storari after the keeper saved from Higuain's volley.

Higuain did get on the scoresheet in the 34th minute when he fired home the rebound after Storari had blocked Miralem Pjanic's effort.

Dani Alves added a third six minutes later with his first for Juve, lashing the ball into the bottom corner from the edge of the box after being picked out by a Pjanic corner.

"I'm happy to return to the top of the table and we played well," Allegri told Sky Sport Italia. "The boys took the right approach, although maybe when we were 2-0 up we should've controlled the tempo instead of pushing forward looking for a third goal too unreservedly."

Juve replaced goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon at halftime due to injury, but added to their tally in the 83rd minute when Ceppitelli deflected the ball past Storari.   Continued...

Football Soccer - Juventus v Cagliari - Italian Serie A - Juventus stadium, Turin, Italy - 21/9/2016. Juventus' Mario Lemina celebrates after scoring against Cagliari. REUTERS/Giorgio Perottino