Juventus beats 10-man Catania 1-0 in Serie A

DANIELLA MATAR Associated Press Published:

MILAN (AP) -- Juventus maintained its charge to a third successive Serie A title as it won 1-0 at 10-man Catania in a fiery match in Serie A on Sunday.

Carlos Tevez scored the only goal of the game to take him level with Torino striker Ciro Immobile at the top of the scoring charts.

Catania was forced to play with 10 men for much of the second half after Gonzalo Bergessio was dismissed following a second booking. Both coaches were also sent to the stands for protests during the first period.

Juventus restored its 14-point lead over Roma, which has a game in hand.

"I think the referee wanted to give a warning to the players, by sending off the managers and calming things down a bit," Conte said. "The match was very heated and we were good to keep a cool head.

"I am very proud of the lads. We are playing at extraordinary levels, but we have to give credit to Roma, which is doing something incredible. So we have to stay awake because nothing is over and decided yet."

Earlier, Fiorentina snatched a late 1-0 win at 10-man Napoli to boost its chances of sneaking into the Champions League. Inter Milan is four points further back after a last-minute goal consigned it to a 2-1 loss at home to Atalanta. Parma is level, but with a game in hand, after it drew 1-1 with Genoa in the lunchtime kickoff.

"It was the perfect day, seeing as we opened up a gap on those behind us and got closer to third spot," Fiorentina coach Vincenzo Montella said. "It will be difficult to reach because Napoli is strong and has a big advantage. But we'll try right until the end."

Lazio is five points off a European spot after being held to a 1-1 draw by AC Milan. Hellas Verona's European bid was dented again as it lost 5-0 at Sampdoria.

Elsewhere, Udinese beat Sassuolo 1-0 and Bologna won a relegation fight against Cagliari by the same score.

It was top against bottom in Serie A and 55 points separated Juventus and Catania going into the match.

Tension was high from the start as the Juventus bus was pelted with objects on its way to the stadium.

Juventus struggled but broke the deadlock shortly before the hour mark. Pablo Osvaldo nodded back a long ball from Andrea Pirlo for Tevez to race forward and fire home an angled drive for his 16th goal of the season.

Both Napoli and Fiorentina were in need of a confidence boost after crashing out of the Europa League midweek.

Faouzi Ghoulam was controversially dismissed in the 37th minute after bringing down Marko Bakic on the edge of the area and Joaquin headed home the winner two minutes from time.

Fiorentina moved seven points behind third-place Napoli.

There was also a late goal in Milan, where Giacomo Bonaventura scored his second of the game 10 seconds from time when he was left completely unmarked at the far post to head a free kick between Samir Handanovic's legs.

Mauro Icardi had cancelled out Bonaventura's opener within 60 seconds in the first half. To celebrate he held up a T-shirt dedicated to his girlfriend Wanda Nera, the ex-wife of former Sampdoria teammate Maxi Lopez.

Inter should have sealed the match in the second half but Fredy Guarin smashed a shot off the crossbar and Rodrigo Palacio sent a glancing header onto the left upright.

Both sides could have snatched the win. Inter's Jonathan cleared off the line three minutes from time before chipping the ball off the underside of the crossbar at the other end.

Atalanta also hit the woodwork in the first half, when German Denis headed Bonaventura's cross off the crossbar.

Parma maintained its charge toward a European spot as it extended its club record unbeaten run to 17 matches.

Milan coach Clarence Seedorf was under pressure with seven defeats in his 12 matches in charge. His side took the lead two minutes from halftime when Abdoulay Konko deflected Kaka's shot into his own net. However, Alvaro Gonzalez headed in the equalizer on the hour.

Substitute Mario Balotelli was unlucky as his effort hit the right post eight minutes from time.

At Udinese, captain Antonio Di Natale scored his 10th goal of the season to ensure he reached double figures in goals for the eighth consecutive season.

It was a good way to mark his 324th league appearance for Udinese -- a new club record.

Di Natale could have had a second but kicked up a chunk of turf as he ballooned a penalty over the bar. Sassuolo also missed a penalty kick.