Rome: Paul Pogba produced a spectacular late strike as Juventus beat visiting Sassuolo 1-0 Monday to extend its lead in Serie A to 11 points, ending a two-match winless streak for the Bianconeri.
Juventus drew 1-1 with second-place Roma in its last league match then was beat 2-1 at home by Fiorentina in the first leg of the Italian Cup semifinals last week.
It looked like the three-time defending champion was in for another disappointing night until Pogba broke the deadlock with his first goal since January.
In the 82nd minute at the Juventus Stadium, Pogba took a pass from Simone Pepe, used one touch to control the bouncing ball and then pounded it into the back of the net from beyond the area with his next touch.
"It was a very, very difficult match," the 21-year-old Pogba said. "I can still do more. I've got to continue working hard to become a great player."
Earlier, Miroslav Klose scored twice and Lazio made a big statement in the battle for Serie A's final Champions League spot with a 4-0 win over Fiorentina.
Lucas Biglia opened the scoring with a long volleyed shot six minutes in and Antonio Candreva added a penalty in the 65th before Klose scored two more.
First, Klose finished off a counterattack by heading in a rebound then he scored from close-range.
The 36-year-old Klose has 11 goals this season — eight in Serie A and three in the Italian Cup — and four goals and two assists in his last four league appearances.
Lazio moved level third with Napoli, while Fiorentina remained fifth, four points behind the Champions League spot.
It was Lazio's fourth consecutive win, while Fiorentina's unbeaten run in all competitions ended at 15 matches.
Juventus had drawn three of its last five matches in Serie A and was in need of a confidence boost ahead of its return match at Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League next week.
But in the first half, Juve had only one shot on goal, and second-half chances from Carlos Tevez and Leonardo Bonucci were deflected by goalkeeper Andrea Consigli before Pogba's winner.
The only negative note for Pogba was that he picked up a yellow card four minutes before he scored and will miss Juve's next match at Palermo. With Andrea Pirlo out injured, Pogba's absence could provide problems in midfield.
Earlier, Martin Caceres underwent surgery to repair a left ankle injury that will keep the Juventus defender out for the rest of the season.
Fiorentina entered the Stadio Olimpico full of confidence after beating Juventus 2-1 in Turin last week in the opening leg of the Italian Cup semifinals.
But Lazio controlled from the start and quickly took the lead when Biglia volleyed in from just beyond the area.
Biglia nearly scored again with a near replica of his goal in the 33rd but goalkeeper Neto pushed the shot off the post.
Lazio had several more chances in the first half and Fiorentina was fortunate to take a one-goal deficit into the changing rooms.
After a brief spurt from Fiorentina at the start of the second half, defender Nenad Tomovic fouled Felipe Anderson to set up Candreva's penalty.
Klose's first came in the 75th after Fiorentina gave away a free kick by passing the ball directly to Lazio and his second 10 minutes later was another rebound, off his own shot.