Padraig Whelan Date: 15th April 2018 at 7:55pm
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Juventus firmly put their Champions League heartbreak behind them by seeing off Sampdoria 3-0 to put themselves in pole position to claim a seventh straight Serie A title.

Buoyed by Napoli’s slip-up against AC Milan earlier in the day when they could only manage a scoreless draw, the reigning champions took full advantage against a game Sampdoria side.

Any lingering frustrations from their tough European exit were taken out on Marco Giampaolo’s side thanks to a hat-trick of assists from substitute Douglas Costa, which puts them six points ahead of the second placed Partenopei.

Perhaps understandably given their midweek frustration, the home side came out of the blocks quickly in the opening five minutes, winning a succession of early corners and peppering shots on the Sampdoria goal.

But it was the visitors who had the first real troublesome attempt of the contest on 20 minutes when former Juve man Fabio Quagliarella popped up unmarked at the back post from a corner and had his header swatted to safety by Gianluigi Buffon.

At the other end, a Mario Mandzukic cross-cum-shot almost caught out Emiliano Viviano at his near post before he scrambled to make the save but moments before the interval, he was powerless to prevent the Croatian.

Fresh from his two goals at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu in midweek, he added another when substitute Douglas Costa, who was introduced just moments before, picked him out in the box and the striker sidefooted past Viviano with aplomb.

Duvan Zapata had a strong header saved well by Buffon after the interval as he tried to help out his former club in their title tilt but with half an hour remaining, the game was put beyond all doubt.

A neat Juventus move ended with Costa being picked out in the penalty area and he weighted a perfect cross to the far post where Benedikt Howedes came flying forward to slam in a header.

The Brazilian winger wasn’t done there though and claimed another assist for a Germany international before things were done, this time showing his quick feet and turn of pace to leave Sampdoria’s defence chasing shadows before setting up Sami Khedira to turn in number three.

That was the way it remained as Juventus set down a big marker to Napoli who, after the midweek action, visit Turin next weekend in a mouthwatering top of the table showdown.