ROME: Juventus remained on course for their first Serie A crown in nine seasons after crushing relegation-threatened Novara 4-0 yesterday as AC Milan stayed three points adrift with a 4-1 win at Siena.
A brace from Mirko Vucinic, and goals from Marco Borriello and Arturo Vidal, helped unbeaten Juventus record their eighth success in a row to reach 77 points with three matches left.
The Bianconeri, who have a better head-to-head record against Milan, could clinch the title as early as Wednesday should they defeat Lecce and Milan lose to Atalanta.
Despite the heavy defeat Novara, eight points adrift of safety, were not condemned to Serie B after third-from-bottom Lecce were beaten 2-1 at home by improving Parma.
At Novara, Borriello, in the starting lineup after scoring the winner at Cesena in midweek, almost gave Juve a second-minute advantage with a left-foot shot that flew just the wrong side of the far post.
But with the away side piling forward the lead arrived soon after when another former Roma striker, Vucinic, cleverly steered home Andrea Pirlo's 16th-minute free kick.
Stephan Lichtsteiner, Emanuele Giaccherini and Pirlo, with a fierce strike from 30 metres, then all went close as Juve threatened to kill off the game within the opening half hour.
The Bianconeri doubled their lead five minutes before the break when an unmarked Borriello headed home Giaccherini's inviting centre.
Chilean midfielder Vidal made sure of the points five minutes after the restart, stroking the ball home after goalkeeper Alberto Santana had halted Vucinic's charge, before the livewire Vucinic struck his second of the afternoon on 64 minutes.
Milan kept pace with Juve after frontmen Antonio Cassano and Zlatan Ibrahimovic struck in three first half minutes to defeat Siena.
Cassano's goal was his first since returning from heart surgery.
The 29-year-old international, who underwent surgery on Nov 14, last found the net against Palermo on Oct 15.
Inter Milan moved level on 55 points with Napoli and Lazio in the battle for the third Champions League spot after coming from behind to defeat relegated Cesena 2-1.
In Bergamo, an 11th-minute strike from Argentine German Denis -- his 16th goal of the season -- and a second-half effort from Giacomo Bonaventura saw Atalanta defeat Fiorentina 2-0 to climb to ninth.
Earlier, struggling Genoa remained a point clear of the relegation zone following a 3-2 defeat at Bologna, extending their winless streak to 14 matches. AFP