sport

Matri hails Juve's response

Juventus striker Alessandro Matri believes Sunday's 2-1 victory at Chievo proved the Bianconeri have what it takes to keep Napoli at bay.

The Azzurri briefly joined Juve at the top of the Serie A table on 49 points following Saturday's home win over Catania, but Matri edged his side back out in front with a stunning first-half opener in Verona.

Stephan Lichtsteiner then seized on a Matri pass to score what proved to be the winner before Cyril Thereau's second-half response set up a tense finale.

After helping Juve to push through the 50-point barrier, Matri told juventus.com: "It felt like a great goal. Strange though, because normally when I strike it well, I don't score.

"But today it went well and we provided a great response to Napoli's win. These are the games that win you championships, not the direct encounters."

New signing Nicolas Anelka was an unused substitute in Verona and Matri hopes it stays that way after giving his coach Antonio Conte food for thought with his performance.

"Everyone wants to play, but unfortunately there are only 11 players on the pitch," he added. "As in every team, there is a pecking order.

"All you can do is give your all and give the coach something to think about. I'm not satisfied with being a reserve, I'm working to play in the starting XI.

"Pecking orders have to be respected, but you can try and change them."

Chievo boss Eugenio Corini was encouraged by the 40 evenly-contested minutes that followed Thereau's goal.

He said: "I expected Juve to be this attacking, but we respected them too much in the first half. It was better after the break when we made them worry."