Juventus 2 Chievo 0: Pogba inspires victory as leaders march on
Paul Pogba scored his fourth goal in as many games as Juventus beat Chievo 2-0 to go eight points clear at the top of Serie A on Sunday.
Pogba's agent, Mino Raiola, this week ruled out a January move for the France midfielder, but Juve will be braced for big-money bids from Europe's elite clubs for the in-form 21-year-old at the end of the season.
The former Manchester United man produced a moment of class to fire Juve in front in the second half at Juventus Stadium and also had a hand in the second goal, when his volley was saved by Albano Bizzarri but Stephan Lichtsteiner was on hand to tuck home the rebound.
Massimiliano Allegri's league leaders have now won eight of their last 11 Serie A games and increased their lead over second-placed Roma ahead of the capital club's trip to Fiorentina later in the day.
Chievo, on the other hand, remain in the relegation zone and have now lost their last six games against the champions.
Arturo Vidal replaced Andrea Pirlo in the Juve starting line-up after the veteran midfielder was ruled out due to illness, while Andrea Barzagli was named on the substitutes bench for the first time since September after recovering from an Achilles injury.
Juve wasted no time in putting the visitors on the back foot and Bizzarri kept out Roberto Pereyra's effort at the near post after Patrice Evra had picked out the midfielder, with Giorgio Chiellini then heading the resulting corner just over the crossbar.
Chievo were struggling to live with the champions and there was a moment of controversy 20 minutes in, when Vidal went down in the penalty area under a challenge from Ervin Zukanovic but referee Davide Massa booked the Chile midfielder for diving.
Chiellini was proving to be a real threat from set-pieces and the Italy defender again rose highest to meet a corner from the right, but Bizzarri tipped his header over the bar.
Chievo were forced to make a change late in the first half after Nicolas Frey came off worse in a sickening clash of heads with compatriot Evra and was carried off following lengthy treatment.
Juve carried on where they left off after the break and Claudio Marchisio tried his luck from long range but failed to hit the target.
The home side's frustration mounted as Rolando Maran's men worked hard to keep them at bay, but Pogba produced the moment of quality that the game had been lacking to open the scoring just before the hour mark.
The France international showed quick feet to beat his man and unleashed a left-footed strike from 25 yards to beat Bizzarri at his near post.
Vidal cut a frustrated figure when he was replaced by Lichtsteiner two minutes later and the substitute doubled Juve's lead from close range, reacting quickly after Pogba's volley had been kept out by Bizzarri 17 minutes from time.
Ezequiel Schelotto almost set up a nervy finish when he stole in and struck the near post four minutes from time, but Juve never really looked in danger of surrendering their advantage as they saw out yet another victory.