Sunday's Serie A round-up

Juventus moved within touching distance of a sixth successive Scudetto after Napoli dropped points, while Palermo edged closer to relegation.

Massimiliano Allegri's Juventus drew nearer to another successful title defence after cruising to a 4-0 victory over Genoa at the Juventus Stadium.

The game was effectively over as a contest at half-time, after an own-goal from Ezequiel Munoz on 17 minutes gave Juve the lead before Paulo Dybala quickly made it 2-0 a minute later and Mario Mandzukic added a third on 41 minutes.

Leonardo Bonucci wrapped up the win on 64 minutes, which took the Bianconeri 11 points clear of second-placed Roma, who face rock-bottom Pescara on Monday.

Earlier in the day, Napoli saw their fading title hopes slip further away following a 2-2 draw with Sassuolo at the Mapei Stadium.

After a goalless first half, Dries Mertens broke the deadlock in the 52nd minute, but the visitors were pegged back seven minutes later by Domenico Berardi's equaliser.

Luca Mazzitelli then put the hosts ahead with 10 minutes remaining, although they failed to hold on as Arkadiusz Milik (84') rescued a late point for the Azzurri, who missed out on the chance to leapfrog the Giallorossi into second spot.

Elsewhere, Lazio moved back into fourth position as they hammered sorry Palermo 6-2 at Stadio Olimpico, where Keita Balde bagged a six-minute hat-trick.

A quick-fire brace from Ciro Immobile (8', 9') put the hosts in command early on, before Balde (21', 24' pen, 26') stole the show midway through the first half.

Andrea Rispoli (46', 52') got on the scoresheet twice for the visitors early in the second half as they briefly put up a fight, but Luca Crecco (90') sealed the comprehensive victory at the death.

Meanwhile, AC Milan dented their European hopes after going down 2-1 to Empoli at the San Siro, where Levan Mchedlidze (40') and Mame Thiam (67') secured the win for the visitors.

Gianluca Lapadula (72') pulled one back for the Rossoneri, but it wasn't enough as they failed to keep pace with fifth-placed Atalanta, who opened up a five-point gap to them.

Crotone kept their survival bid alive as they came from a goal down to beat Sampdoria 2-1 at Stadio Luigi Ferraris.

Patrik Schick's 20th-minute opener gave La Samp a 1-0 lead at the break, but the visitors hit back in the second half as Diego Falcinelli (67') restored parity before Simy completed the comeback win 10 minutes from time.

The Squali remain 18th in the standings, although the victory took them within five points of safety, with Sampdoria sitting mid-table after going three games without a win.

Torino maintained their good run-in to the season as they ran out 3-1 victors over Chievo at Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi.

There were no goals in the first half, although that quickly changed after the restart when Adem Ljajic opened the scoring in the 52nd minute before Davide Zappacosta doubled the visitors' lead four minutes later.

Sergio Pellissier reduced the deficit on 65 minutes, but Iago Falque sealed the win 15 minutes from time, which extended ninth-placed Toro's unbeaten run in the league to five matches.

Udinese got back on the winning trail after beating Cagliari 2-1 at Stadio Friuli, with two goals in quick succession from Stipe Perica (70') and Gabriele Angella (72') secured maximum points for the hosts.

Marco Borriello (86') bagged a late consolation for the Rossoblu, who had the chance to climb above the 11th-placed Zebrette, but remain in 13th position instead. 

Sunday's results:

Sassuolo 2-2 Napoli

Udinese 2-1 Cagliari

Sampdoria 1-2 Crotone

AC Milan 1-2 Empoli

Lazio 6-2 Palermo

Chievo 1-3 Torino

Juventus 4-0 Genoa

Rudiger denies Chelsea links

Roma defender Antonio Rudiger says he is happy to remain at the Serie A club and discussed their fading Scudetto hopes in the run-in to the season.

Following the 1-1 stalemate with Atalanta last weekend, the Giallorossi have fallen eight points off the pace at the top of the table with six games remaining.

Rudiger feels Luciano Spalletti's side will struggle to prevent the Old Lady from securing their sixth consecutive title due to their recent dip in form.

"Juve and Napoli are in good form," the Germany international told the club's official website. "We drew last week but we're in good shape like our rivals. That's why it will be a tough end to the campaign.

"The team is looking good and, as I've said, we need to be focused in the last month of the season because we could lose a lot."

After the Coppa Italia and Europa League exits, rumours have intensified in Italy that the Stuttgart youth product could move to the English Premier League with Antonio Conte's Chelsea, which Rudiger has strongly denied.

"They write a lot in Italy. They said before I got injured that I'd move to Chelsea but I'm still at Roma," the 24-year-old added.

"They can say what they want, I'm focused on Roma and, as I've always said, I'm happy here."

Juve keen to keep hold of Allegri

Juventus director Pavel Nedved has made it clear that the club are keen to keep hold of manager Massimiliano Allegri.

The 49-year-old Italian has been strongly linked with a move to London to replace Arsene Wenger at Arsenal.

Wenger is in the final year of his Gunners contract and has been heavily criticised by the club's fans this season.

Allegri, won the Serie A title in his first two seasons at the Juventus Stadium, and is well on course to win a third successive Scudetto.

"We want him, he's doing well and at the last draw, I made it clear that he's doing good work and we're happy to continue with him," Nedved was quoted by Metro.

"We want to continue with him, and on his part, he has to be happy and convinced to continue with Juve. We shouldn't have any problems."

Lazio interested in Unal

Lazio are reportedly keen on bringing Turkey international striker Enes Unal to the Serie A at the end of the season.

Unal is currently enjoying a loan spell at Eredivisie outfit FC Twente, from English Premier League side Manchester City; but has attracted a host of top European sides ahead of the off season.

According to Football Italia, Pep Guardiola will be willing to allow the young forward make a temporary switch to the Italian side in order to continue his rapid development.

"Lazio have been sniffing around. They want to take him on a loan deal for the season as he has shone this year," a sourced revealed to English publication, The Sun.

"He's scoring every week in Holland. Lazio have sent scouts to watch him and talks are set to begin over the coming weeks."

The 19-year-old has scored 17 goals in the Dutch top-flight this season.

Lazio's Diaconale: Referee decisions favour Milan clubs

Lazio spokesperson Arturo Diaconale has hit out at Serie A officials, claiming recent decisions that went against his team betray bias towards the clubs from Milan.

With competition for European spots heating up as the season heads to a close, fourth-placed Lazio are looking over their shoulders at the likes of AC Milan and Internazionale who are only three and five points adrift, respectively.

“The officiating in Genoa-Lazio made us angry because, aside from the individual clear incidents, it seems incredible that they were unable to recognise two stonewall penalties,” Diaconale said in an interview with Lazio Style Radio.

“It makes me think that it’s because we are coming towards the end of the season. Lazio are in a strong position at the end of a good campaign and have a very good chance of getting back into Europe.

“What happened in Genoa feeds a climate of worry and suspicion for what could happen next. If this is the path we are on, the impression is that there could be attempts to condition this end of the season period to favour other teams.

“Perhaps someone has a vested interest in getting at least one of the Milanese clubs back into Europe. I don’t understand why we should have to pay the price for the Chinese clubs entering, with all due respect.

“I hope that the results in these final few weeks of the season are not affected. It has so far been a calm campaign that doesn’t need to be poisoned in the final matches," he added.

“Lazio are one of the few clubs who can boast their accounts are in order, so we have to underline this tendency to excessively criticise Lazio with prejudice that is difficult to remove.”

Raggi: Juve scared of Monaco

Andrea Raggi believes that Juventus is aware of the threat AS Monaco poses to their Champions League campaign, saying that the French club are out for revenge.

Raggi, central defender for the tournament's surprise package, knows that his side is in for a stern test against the club that eliminated them from the tournament in 2015, but spoke with great confidence of the likelihood for payback.

“It’s certainly a tough draw, as Juve are at the top level and even stronger than they were two years ago," he told La Gazzetta dello Sport. 

"Having said that, so are we, and this is an opportunity for revenge,” he continued.

“We never did get over the 2015 elimination to Juventus and this is the right chance to make up for it, even with interest, seeing as there’s a place in the final at stake. We’ve got unfinished business.

“Two years ago, in Turin they were happy to draw Monaco, but I think now they’ll be slightly less pleased. We scare everyone now,” the 32-year old added.

“Their defence remains remarkable, plus they have Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala in attack. Fortunately Sami Khedira is suspended for the first leg, as he brings added value.

“In 2014 we had a young and rebellious side, but now we are so dangerous in attack. From the midfield up, we don’t care who we’re facing, we play the same way," said Raggi.

The former Bologna player went on to praise one of the stars of the tournament, his teammate Kylian Mbappe.

“Mbappé is a real phenomenon. When you take him on in training, you need to pray and hope he gets something wrong, otherwise there’s no stopping him. 

"In the one-on-one he is so fast and has great technique. He didn’t feel any pressure against Manchester City or Borussia Dortmund.

“I hope he continues to sustain the pressure against Juve, so he’ll score two against them as well,” Raggi added.

Juve snap up Uruguayan starlet

Juventus have completed the signing of midfielder Rodrigo Bentancur from Boca Juniors on a five-year deal.

The 19-year-old Uruguayan will join the Old Lady for an initial fee of €9.5million that would rise "based on a certain number of official games played by the player", while the Argentinean side will get half of the "amounts collected" by his future sale.

The club's official website described him as "Physically strong and offering a towering presence" and "comfortable with using both feet".

"Bentancur has shown in his early years that he is capable of playing in various positions across the middle of the park, from a holding midfielder to a 'trequartista' deployed just behind the forwards," added the official Juventus website.

Monchi: Roma move very likely

Despite rumours linking him with a Unai Emery reunion at PSG, Sevilla's sporting director Monchi claims that his deal with Roma is nearly finalised.

Monchi, whose partnership with Emery at Sevilla resulted in a particularly successful period for the club, announced in March that it is time for him to move on to a new challenge, sparking rumours of a move to the current French champions.

Despite such speculation, Roma was always cited as his most likely destination. In an interview with AS, the 48-year old has confirmed that, barring anything unforseen, he will indeed be joining Luciano Spalletti in the Italian capital.

"I am working on the transfer of power and little else." the former goalkeeper said, referring to his impending departure. 

"The work has already been done, all the pressing issues dealt with. And I have prepared my goodbye, it's not easy. I continued to work as if I were to remain here for life, wanting to do this until everyone told me ‘it’s over’.

"Will I go to Roma? It is not done, but it's the closest option. If everything goes the right way and there’s no surprises I’ll go Roma, but I never say it’s done until there's a signature.

"No person of stature from any Spanish club has called me. There are brokers from several big clubs who have expressed interest in me, but I consider this opportunism: if they were major clubs, they would have called me directly.

"It's also true that I said that I would never work for another club after Sevilla in Spain, so it would have been harder to call me.

"I think most of the Sevilla fans have got the message: I needed fresh air after 29 years here.

"And I need to continue to work, but with a different side dish.

"My link with Sevilla was professional: it was the engine of success, but also of wear and tear and detachment.

"The bitterness of defeats was almost equivalent to the satisfaction of victories, I was not been able to split the role of sporting director from that of a fan.

"I tried to convince myself to stay, but a time came when I could no longer: in the future I will leave other destinations suffering, but I will also try not to bind myself to them completely, like I did here.

"The club asked me and I advised them to go for continuity: if you take someone from outside, he will eventually be ‘a substitute for Monchi’."

UCL draw: Real face Atletico, Monaco face Juve

Real Madrid drew Atletico Madrid while Monaco were drawn to face Juventus in the first leg semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League scheduled to take place on May second and third respectively.

The draw for the eagerly awaited last four of Europe's top club competition was held at UEFA’s headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland on Friday.

The first semi-final will feature current Champions League holders Real facing fierce Spanish rivals Atletico at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium in the first leg, before tackling one another in the second leg at the Vicente Calderon Stadium.

Meanwhile, Monaco will welcome Juventus to the Stade Louis II in their first encounter before the exciting Ligue 1 side return to face the Old Lady at the Juventus Stadium.

Alves: Win over Barca was bitter-sweet

Juventus full-back Dani Alves has admitted it was difficult to see his former teammates at Barcelona suffer defeat against his current team.

The Bianconeri beat the Catalans 3-0 on aggregate after a 0-0 draw in the second leg of their quarter-final tie on Wednesday.

Alves spent eight trophy-laden years at Barcelona before moving to Juve at the start of the season, and has revealed how difficult it was to beat his old friends.

“It was tough, but I am happy for the club and my teammates,” he told reporters, according to Football Espana.          

“This night does give me a bitter-sweet feeling, because coming here brings back so many good memories from my time in this stadium and to see your friends sad is an odd sensation.

“It’s painful, but this is part of our profession.

“Neymar? I told him that this is football, that’s just the way it is.

“I already told him that I didn’t want to take on Barcelona for all that we had gone through together, but that in these situations you have to leave feelings aside."