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Juventus bounces back in Serie A, Atletico keeps pace with Barcelona

updated 5:09 PM EST, Sun December 15, 2013
Carlos Tevez ended his scoring drought by collecting a hat-trick against Sassuolo in Serie A.
Carlos Tevez ended his scoring drought by collecting a hat-trick against Sassuolo in Serie A.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Juventus coasts past Sassuolo 4-0 to increase its lead in Italy's Serie A
  • Carlos Tevez scores a hat-trick for Juventus, which exited the Champions League last week
  • Atletico Madrid beats Valencia to pull level on points with Barcelona in La Liga
  • Bayer Leverkusen's title hopes in Germany dwindle following a defeat at home

(CNN) -- Juventus cast aside the disappointment of crashing out in the Champions League group stage, thumping Sassuolo 4-0 in Serie A on Sunday.

The three points were much welcomed by Juve, which exited Europe's top club competition in snowy Istanbul, and Carlos Tevez's hat-trick would have pleased the Argentine striker, too. Tevez also set up Federico Peluso's headed goal with a free kick.

Tevez had only hit the back of the net once in his previous seven appearances.

Even though Sassuolo hovered just above the relegation zone prior to kickoff, its play in the last month suggested Juventus might struggle. But Tevez's early goal -- in the 15th minute -- put the visitor under pressure at the Juventus Stadium in Turin.

He added efforts in the 45th and 68th minutes.

Sassuolo rarely troubled Juventus keeper Gianluigi Buffon without the services of leading scorer Domenico Berardi -- who is on loan from the Old Lady.

Juventus, the reigning Italian champion, moved six points clear of Roma, which visits AC Milan in a high-profile encounter Monday.

And in the league, Juventus has won eight in a row without conceding.

"It was a good way to make amends for Wednesday," Buffon told Sky Italia. "The elimination hurt us, but now there's another trophy we now have to try and win."

Veteran German striker Miroslav Klose returned from injury and provided some relief for Lazio manager Vladimir Petkovic, scoring both goals in a 2-0 win over Livorno.

Petkovic was under pressure following a spell of six league games without a victory.

Giuseppe Rossi scored his league-leading 13th goal -- three better than Tevez -- in Fiorentina's 3-0 win over Bologna.

In Sunday's late kickoff, Napoli doubled 10-man Inter 4-2 to close in on Roma.

Atletico keeps pace with Barca

In Spain, Atletico Madrid rejoined Barcelona on points at the top of La Liga after a stunning second-half performance against Valencia.

Diego Costa scored twice to tie Cristiano Ronaldo on 17 league goals and Madrid's less famous team blanked Valencia 3-0. Between his goals, Costa was denied from the spot by Diego Alves.

Valencia -- in mid table -- matched Atletico in the first half but the home side upped the tempo in the second.

Costa worked his way into the box in the 59th minute and Alves couldn't keep out his low shot. Alves, however, had little chance on Raul Garcia's rocket in the 63rd minute.

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Alves saved Costa's penalty in the 74th minute but Costa was fouled again in the box and this time converted in the 81st.

Atletico and Barcelona each have 43 points and the same goal difference but Barca has scored one more goal.

The sides meet in early January.

A good day for Bayern

It was a good day for Bayern Munich -- and the Bavarians didn't even play.

Bayern maintained its seven-point advantage atop the Bundesliga after second-place Bayer Leverkusen slumped to a 1-0 loss -- at home -- to struggler Eintracht Frankfurt.

Frankfurt last tasted victory in the league in the middle of September.

Marco Russ scored the game's only goal with a 61st-minute header and Frankfurt missed the chance for a second when a penalty was saved in injury time.

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