MILAN — On his 300th Serie A match as coach, Massimiliano Allegri appeared to throw caution to the wind as Juventus fielded an all-out attacking lineup against Lazio on Sunday.
But it paid off as Juventus bounced back from last weekend’s defeat at Fiorentina to beat Lazio 2-0, with goals from Paulo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain inside 16 minutes.
"I woke up on Wednesday morning and I decided to change things," Allegri said. "I decided so because we were coming off not so good a match in Florence and today was the right match for that sort of experiment.
"We won’t always play like this, but the response the team gave me today was positive: we played well, with quality and sacrifice. And despite the attacking imbalance, we still did well in defence, not risking anything. But we have to maintain this tempo, irrespective of the formation."
Juventus remained one point above Roma and four above Napoli, which won 2-1 at AC Milan on Saturday. Allegri’s side also has a game in hand on its rivals.
Lazio is fourth, four points further back.
There have been question marks this season over who works best with Higuain and Allegri found a novel solution, by utilizing all his main attackers in a new 4-2-3-1 formation.
Miralem Pjanic partnered Sami Khedira in midfield, with Juan Cuadrado, Dybala and Mario Mandzukic just behind Higuain.
It took just five minutes for the new-look Juventus to take the lead, with Mandzukic knocking down a long ball for Dybala’s half-volley into the bottom left corner from just outside the area.
Juve doubled its lead in the 16th when Cuadrado crossed from the right and Higuain tapped it into the bottom right corner from six yards for his seventh goal in the past five league matches.
Higuain had another goal, a header, ruled out for offside on the half hour.
Juventus extended its Serie A record to 27 consecutive home wins.
ROMA 1, CAGLIARI 0
The best and worst of Edin Dzeko was again on show as Roma ground out a third straight 1-0 league win.
Dzeko missed a golden opportunity in the first half as he volleyed Daniele De Rossi’s chipped pass straight into the arms of Cagliari goalkeeper Rafael from six yards.
But Dzeko put away a more difficult chance 10 minutes into the second half as he used his strength to hold off Nicola Murru and fire Antonio Rudiger’s cross into the back of the net.
"Before they said it wasn’t possible for us to win 1-0, but now we have won three in a row like that," Dzeko said. "We can win also like this. The defence do their job and we up front do ours, like we did today.
"It was difficult. I missed the great ball Dani gave me but in the second half I had my say, I was clinical. We have to continue like this, all together."
Dzeko also had a goal ruled out for offside.
Cagliari Joao Pedro was shown a straight red card in stoppage time for an uncontrolled challenge on Kevin Strootman.
PALERMO 0, INTER MILAN 1
Inter recorded an eighth successive win in all competitions but only after struggling to break down relegation-threatened Palermo.
Substitute Joao Mario scored the only goal of the game in the 65th when he was left unmarked to volley in Antonio Candreva’s cross.
Both teams were reduced to 10 men late on, with Inter defender Cristian Ansaldi sent off in the 80th for a second yellow card. Inter protested and coach Stefano Pioli was also dismissed.
Palermo midfielder Alessandro Gazzi was also shown a second yellow and sent off in stoppage time.
Inter leapfrogged AC Milan into fifth, a point behind Lazio, although the Rossoneri have a game in hand.
Crotone picked up a precious point in its fight for survival as it twice fought back to draw 2-2 at Genoa.
It remains 11 points behind 17th-placed Empoli, which beat Udinese 1-0.
Bottom club Pescara had a late penalty saved as it lost 3-1 at home to Sassuolo, with Alessandro Matri scoring a second straight double
Bologna beat Torino 2-0, and Atalanta defeated Sampdoria 1-0.