Gonzalo Higuain brace leads Juventus to win, Atalanta held by Sassuolo

Gonzalo Higuain was the hero again as Juventus took another step towards the Serie A title with a 2-0 victory over Chievo.

Higuain took his tally for the season to 27 with a goal in each half at the Juventus Stadium.

The Argentina striker's double -- his seventh of the season -- secured a 32nd consecutive home league win for Juve and moved them nine points clear of Roma ahead of their trip to Bologna on Sunday.

Sami Khedira and Paulo Dybala were denied by Chievo goalkeeper Andrea Seculin before Juventus took a 23rd-minute lead.

Dybala was the orchestrator with a brilliant break to the by-line, and his cut-back found the waiting Higuain who swept home from 12 yards.

Juventus probed for a second with Juan Cuadrado seeing his shot blocked and Higuain firing wide on the edge of the penalty area.

Chievo were encouraged by those misses and Riccardo Meggiorini and substitute Roberto Inglese both headed over.

Higuain wasted an even clearer chance from eight yards out that he would normally take. But he punished Chievo again six minutes from time after Dybala had slipped in Stephan Lichtsteiner to cross from the right.

Atalanta's hopes of a top-four Serie A finish were dented by a 1-1 home draw against Sassuolo.

Lorenzo Pellegrini gave Sassuolo a 36th-minute lead against the run of play after Mattia Caldara had been caught trying to dribble the ball out of defence.

Papu Gomez had twice gone close to giving Atalanta the lead, curling a fifth-minute shot inches past the post before thumping the upright from close range.

Atalanta might have had a penalty straight after the restart when Andrea Masiello was dragged down at a corner.

But they levelled after 73 minutes when Bryan Cristante headed home Gomez's free kick.

The draw leaves Atalanta one point behind fourth-placed Lazio, who are at home to Napoli on Sunday night.

Empoli's seven-game losing run was ended by a 1-1 draw at home to bottom club Pescara.

Guido Marilungo knocked down a long throw into the path of Omar El Kaddouri, who finished smartly with the outside of his foot to give Empoli the lead in the ninth minute.

However Gianluca Caprari was played through by Jean-Cristophe Bahebeck -- who just beat the offside trap -- and rounded the keeper before smashing home to level the scores and earn a point for the visitors.