Juventus FC kept up the pressure on AC Milan and Internazionale FC at the top of Serie A with a 1-0 win against Empoli FC in Turin.
Marcello Lippi’s side struck the decisive goal in the seventh minute, David Trezeguet making no mistake from the spot when the referee awarded a penalty after Brazilian defender Cribari handled the ball in the area.
The visitors were reduced to defending for long periods of the first half, but in the 24th minute a swift counter-attack forced quick thinking from Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, who smothered an effort from striker Tommaso Rocchi.
At the other end, Gianluca Berti was the only man preventing Empoli from slipping further behind. The Empoli goalkeeper saved a strike from Pavel Nedved in the 60th minute, then went one better by beating away a vicious strike by Marco Di Vaio, who was playing because of the injury to Alessandro Del Piero.
The win means Juve join the two Milan-based teams at the top of Serie A on 42 points, though both Inter and Milan, at home to Reggina Calcio and away to AC Perugia respectively on Sunday, have a game in hand.
A late goal from Roberto Muzzi for Udinese Calcio, meanwhile, ensured a 2-1 win against Piacenza FC, denying Luigi Cagni a draw in his first match back in charge.
Cagni, who took charge of the relegation candidates following Andrea Agosti's recent sacking, thought his side had earned their first point in four games in the 78th minute when Dario Hubner equalised Marek Jankulovski`s 18th-minute opener.