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Higuain with birthday double in Juve win

Associated Press logo Associated Press 11/12/2016 DANIELLA MATAR

Gonzalo Higuain celebrated his birthday weekend with two goals as he helped Juventus to a 3-1 victory at Torino in a thrilling derby on Sunday.

Goals from two of the best strikers in European football looked like ensuring the Derby della Mole would end with honours even. Higuain cancelled out Andrea Belotti's opener for Torino, with both scoring on their first opportunity.

But Higuain doubled his tally in the 83rd minute and substitute Miralem Pjanic sealed the result in stoppage time.

Juventus moved seven points clear of second-placed Roma and AC Milan, who play each other on Monday.

"It was a special match," Higuain said.

"We were losing, we were in difficulty but after we equalised we stayed in control and in the end we won. Winning the derby, scoring and having a good team performance was a lovely birthday present.

"Is it a message for Roma and Milan? We did our job, we had to win and we did so. What they do tomorrow is their problem."

Juventus host Roma next Saturday.

Mario Mandzukic had two chances in quick succession for Juventus before Belotti broke the deadlock in the 16th minute when Davide Zappacosta burst down the right flank and threaded the ball through to Daniele Baselli, who crossed for Belotti to head into the bottom left corner.

Higuain leveled in the 28th, running onto Mandzukic's through ball.

Torino were made to pay for missed opportunities as Higuain fired Juventus in front seven minutes from time - the ninth goal of the season for Higuain, who turned 29 on Saturday.

The Argentine moved up to fourth in the goalscoring table, two behind third-placed Belotti.

Dries Mertens netted a hat trick as Napoli equaled its biggest Serie A away win with a 5-0 thrashing of Cagliari, confidence high at Napoli after they ended a poor run of results with a crushing victory at Inter Milan and while also qualifying for the Champions League knockout stage.

Marcelo Brozovic continued his fine run of form with two goals to help Inter move into eighth with a 2-0 win over Genoa.

Brozovic netted his first goal six minutes from time when the Croatia midfielder volleyed the ball low into the bottom right corner before Inter doubled their lead in the 69th following a great run from Joao Mario down the left.

Elsewhere, Atalanta fell to their second straight defeat with a surprise 3-1 loss at home to Udinese, Sergio Pellissier scored his 100th Serie A goal to help Chievo Verona beat bottom club Palermo 2-0, and Bologna drew 0-0 with Empoli.

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