Juventus remained inside a degree of Serie A leaders Napoli forward of the winter break as Federico Bernardeschi’s second-half strike secured a 1-Zero win at Cagliari.
Bernardeschi, considered one of three gamers to hit the woodwork within the first half, transformed from shut vary within the 74th minute, with Cagliari left indignant that play had not been halted moments earlier when Leonardo Pavoletti took an arm within the face from Medhi Benatia.
An entertaining opening 45 minutes noticed Paulo Dybala and Bernardeschi strike bar and publish respectively earlier than Wojciech Szczesny turned Diego Farias’ shot in opposition to Juve’s upright.
It was definitely not essentially the most comfy of outings for Massimiliano Allegri’s second-placed aspect — they misplaced Dybala and Sami Khedira to damage after the break — however a sixth win in seven league matches was sealed in the long run.
And it means, with a two-week hiatus now starting, the factors distinction between the champions and Napoli stays what it was previous to the latter’s 2-Zero win over Hellas Verona earlier on Saturday.
As 16th-placed Cagliari got here below early strain, Dybala curled a free kick in opposition to the bar and Gonzalo Higuain despatched a shot large after gathering Khedira’s cross.
Juventus rattled the purpose body once more quickly after, with Bernardeschi’s glorious strike coming again off a publish, and the guests then had the ball within the internet within the 21st minute, though Benatia’s end was dominated out for offside.
Simply previous to that Pavoletti had directed a header off track on the different finish and within the 26th minute he introduced an incredible, point-blank save out of Szczesny with one other headed effort.
Szczesny, once more taking part in within the absence of the injured Gianluigi Buffon, then denied Cagliari in nice model as soon as extra as he diverted Farias’ shot on to a publish simply earlier than the break.
Issues weren’t going as easily for Juventus as they may have anticipated and that continued because the second half received below manner.
Dybala was compelled to come back off within the 49th minute with an obvious hamstring drawback and Khedira adopted only some minutes later after being concerned in an aerial collision with Szczesny, Douglas Costa and Mario Mandzukic approaching to switch them.
Because the away aspect tried to construct some momentum, Miralem Pjanic shot large and Giorgio Chiellini headed over, sustaining a head damage within the course of. The skipper was in a position to proceed taking part in, however solely after having a bandage wrapped round his head.
Juventus then made the breakthrough, with Bernardeschi tucking the ball previous Rafael from Costa’s supply.
Moments earlier than the purpose, Pavoletti was left on the bottom having been caught within the face by Benatia’s arm, with play being allowed to proceed.
The Cagliari man, backed by teammates, protested in animated trend to the referee after the purpose went in, but it surely solely resulted in him being booked.