December 4, 2016 / 3:27 AM / 10 months ago

Juventus open up seven-point lead with Atalanta win

Football Soccer - Juventus v Atalanta - Italian Serie A - Juventus stadium, Turin, Italy - 3/12/16 - Juventus' Mario Mandzukic celebrates after scoring third goal . REUTERS/Giorgio Perottino

TURIN, Italy (Reuters) - Serie A leaders Juventus scored twice in four minutes early in the first half to ease past Atalanta 3-1 on Saturday and open up a seven-point advantage at the top of the Italian league.

Alex Sandro opened the scoring for the hosts with a superb solo effort in the 15th minute and Juve extended their advantage four minutes later when Daniele Rugani rose high in the box to head home a corner.

Atalanta keeper Marco Sportiello was kept busy as Juve peppered half a dozen shots on goal in the first half hour when the visitors were camped in their own half.

Sportiello again came to the rescue to turn a Claudio Marchisio shot around the post but could do nothing when striker Mario Mandzukic crowned a superb all-round performance with a glancing header for Juve’s third just past the hour.

The Croatian was subsequently taken off with a knee injury.

Remo Freuler grabbed a goal for Atalanta with a fine volley in the 82nd minute but it came too late to make a difference as Juve ensured they bounced back from last week’s defeat to Genoa in fine style.

Juve are on 36 points from 15 matches, with second-placed AS Roma, on 29 from 14 games, taking on Lazio in the Rome derby on Sunday. Atalanta are in sixth on 28 points.

Reporting by Karolos Grohmann, editing by Neil Robinson

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