Juventus beat Atalanta to lead midway in Serie A

Rome, Jan 22 (IANS) Juventus beat Atalanta 2-0 in Bergamo to secure the top spot in Italian Serie A at the midway stage of the season.

Stephan Lichtsteiner opened the scoring in the 55th minute, before Emanuele Giaccherini added the second eight minutes from the end.
With the win Saturday, Antonio Conte’s side opened up a four-point advantage over AC Milan at the top of the table.
“Our first half of the campaign has been extraordinary,” Conte was quoted as saying by Xinhua.
“We played at a very high level and tonight was the crowning moment. My lads have done remarkable things, but now we must continue giving 120 percent, as that is the only way to keep hold of the top spot. We are out in front of teams that were favourites before the season began,” he said.
Meanwhile, Italian veteran Francesco Totti scored twice in the opening eight minutes to set Roma on their way to an emphatic 5-1 home win over Cesena.
“This is the football that I think all coaches and players enjoy, plus it gives you a better chance of winning the games,” Roma coach Luis Enrique was quoted as saying.
“Today the match seemed easy because we were almost perfect. I still believe Cesena are an excellent side with important qualities, but we played at the very highest level,” he said.
Roma were 3-0 up after nine minutes when Fabio Borini added his name to the scoresheet after Totti’s brace.
Although Citadin Eder pulled one back for the visitors in the 58th minute, Juan soon added the Giallorossi’s fourth.
Miralem Pjanic wrapped up a brilliant night for Roma at the Stadio Olimpico with a fifth goal 20 minutes from time.
It was the fourth consecutive league win for Roma, which lifted Luis Enrique’s side up to the sixth place, and they have a game in hand after last weekend’s match at Catania was suspended due to a waterlogged pitch.
Cesena, meanwhile, were only a shadow of the side that beat Novara 3-1 last Sunday and remained in the relegation zone.