ROME, Feb 8 (Reuters) - Juventus extended their advantage at the top of Serie A to seven points after goals from Mario Mandzukic and Gonzalo Higuain secured a 2-0 win at struggling Crotone on Wednesday.
Crotone headed into the match nine points adrift of safety but they defended resolutely for an hour until Juve's overwhelming pressure finally told when Mandzukic fired home in the 60th minute after goalkeeper Alex Cordaz parried Kwadwo Asamoah's downward header into his path.
With the hosts' resolve broken, Higuain added a second 14 minutes later when he finished past Cordaz after being found by a delightful threaded pass by new signing Tomas Rincon, making his first league start for Juve, as Massimiliano Allegri's side made the most of their game in hand.
The win took Juventus up to 57 points and re-establishesd the champions' seven-point lead over AS Roma, who thumped Fiorentina 4-0 on Tuesday. Napoli could close the gap to six points if they beat Genoa at home on Friday.
Reporting by Ed Dove, editing by Ed Osmond