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Afp

Bernardeschi, Higuain put Juventus top amid VAR fiasco

By AFP
media 50 up: Juventus striker Gonzalo Higuain celebrates scoring his 50th goal for the Italian giants in Friday's win at Fiorentina AFP

Federico Bernardeschi and Gonzalo Higuain scored as Juventus went top of Serie A on Friday in a 2-0 win at Fiorentina overshadowed by a video assistant referee (VAR) fiasco.

A decision to award a penalty to Fiorentina after 21 minutes when Juventus's Giorgio Chiellini's arm blocked a Marco Benassi cross was subsequently overturned after consultation with VAR.

And after a three-minute wait referee Marco Guida instead decided to award the visitors a free-kick for a supposed Benassi offside in the run-up.

Emotions were already running high after the break when Italian midfielder Bernardeschi, who left the Tuscany side for Turin last summer, scored on his return to the Artemio Franchi Stadium for the first time as a Juventus player.

The 23-year-old curled in a free-kick after 56 minutes for his fourth goal in six Serie A games started for Juventus to break the deadlock. Bernardeschi was later substituted off to the whistles of the crowd.

Higuain -- the scorer of a hat-trick last weekend -- sealed the win four minutes from time with his 14th Serie A goal this season and 50th for Juventus.

It was an important win for champions Juventus who now have 62 points from 24 games -- two points ahead of Napoli -- who can reclaim top spot when they host Lazio on Saturday.

The first half had delivered little in the way of action as Stefano Pioli's team made life difficult for the visitors.

Gil Dias broke clear down the right and hit the post as the tried to beat Gianluigi Buffon who was making his 500th Serie A appearance in goal.

Despite going a goal down, Fiorentina did not give up with the evergreen Buffon, 40, denying Cyril Thereau from close range before Higuain closed down the match after 86 minutes.

Fiorentina remain in 11th position on 31 points.

 
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