Andrea Pirlo’s sensational set piece and Gigi Buffon’s penalty save will remain the two abiding memories from last night’s win over Genoa, in which Juventus stretched their unbeaten league run to 20 games.
Despite the visitors shading possession with a figure of 53.5 per cent, it was in fact Genoa who posed the greatest threat going forward, striking at goal on 14 separate occasions as Antonio Conte’s men were forced to draw on all their defensive resilience.
Excellling in the heat of the battle with a superb defensive display was Uruguayan Martin Caceres, who enjoyed the most touches (94) and topped the Bianconeri’s completed passes index with 61 accurate deliveries.
Pressed continuously throughout a fast-paced 90 minutes, Juventus were unable to consistently get the ball forward to the untested strike partnership of Fernando Llorente and Dani Osvaldo, instead relying on Paul Pogba’s characteristic bursts from deep to provide the danger in midfield.
It was the Frenchman who produced half of the Bianconeri’s total efforts on goal for the night, with all three long-range attempts falling wide of Mattia Perin’s posts.
While the Genoa shotstopper rightly took the plaudits for several fine saves in this season’s first meeting at Juventus Stadium, it was the performance of opposite number Buffon that proved fundamental in securing the Bianconeri’s fourth successive Serie A clean sheet.
His instinctive block on Andrea Bertolacci’s strike from point-blank range was commendable enough, but even more crucial was the penalty stop from Emanuele Calaiò, his first spot kick save since denying Francesco Totti at the Stadio Olimpico in December 2011.
This provided the impetus for the Bianconeri to push for a winner, which duly arrived when Pirlo curled home his fourth free-kick of the current campaign to send the visitors’ bench and travelling support into raptures.