A devastating comeback enabled the Bianconeri to register a record-breaking 11th consecutive Serie A success with this afternoon’s emphatic 4-1 win over Cagliari in Sardinia.
The reigning champions conjured up a rousing response to Mauricio Pinilla’s opener on 21 minutes, levelling through Fernando Llorente’s header before producing three further strikes after the break to cement another important triumph.
The first of these belonged to Claudio Marchisio, who came off the bench to open his Serie A account for the current campaign with a stunning thunderbolt from range, while further strikes from Llorente and man-of-the-match Stephan Lichtsteiner completed the rout late on.
The suspension of Andrea Barzagli meant it was just one change from last weekend’s comprehensive 3-0 triumph over Roma, Martin Caceres stepping in on the right-hand side of defence.
An aggressive start by the visitors saw them carve out their first chance within the opening three minutes of play. Lichtsteiner picked out the formidable presence of Llorente with a cross from the flank, with the Spaniard planting his header over the crossbar after showing good movement to shake off the attentions of his marker.
In spite of the Bianconeri’s brisk early movement in and around the penalty area, it was in fact the hosts who edged their noses in front with 21 minutes played. A corner whipped into the box found the head of Daniele Conti, who nodded down for an unmarked Pinilla to sweep home.
The goal appeared to give the Rossoblu an injection of confidence, allowing them to move forward with plenty of purpose and poise in their bid to inflict further damage on Conte’s men. Goalscorer Pinilla had the chance to double his lead with an effort from distance, Gigi Buffon getting down smartly to push his low strike clear to safety on 29 minutes.
Two minutes later, Juventus were level. Again it was the Lichtsteiner-Llorente combination that threatened to open the scoring early on, and this time the Pamplona-born frontman made no mistake with a bullet header from the Swiss international’s pinpoint cross.
Yet the Bianconeri needed to have their wits about them to prevent Cagliari from immediately regaining their advantage, Buffon riding to the rescue with a spectacular stop when Daniele Dessena appeared odds on to convert Nicola Murru’s cross from point-blank range.
Undeterred, Juventus lifted their heads and fashioned two chances to tilt the balance in their favour ahead of the break. Arturo Vidal’s well-struck effort from the fringes of the area yielded a solid stop from Antonio Adán, while Lichtsteiner will feel he should have made a better connection after Kwadwo Asamoah’s cutback had presented him with a decent opportunity to work the Rossoblu shotstopper.
The second half brought no let up in the tempo as both sides once again set about each other with plenty of verve. Carlos Tevez looked sharp in the final third, drawing two saves in as many minutes courtesy of well-struck shots from range, while Vidal shone as the driving force in the Bianconeri engine room, weighing in with timely interventions and measured bursts from deep.
At the midway point of the restart Conte sought to freshen up his midfield, introducing Marchisio in place of Andrea Pirlo, until then well marshalled by Andrea Cossu. The change paid almost immediate dividends as, on 73 minutes, the midfielder lashed home a fierce strike from 25 yards which ultimately proved too hot to handle for Adan.
With the bit firmly between their teeth, Juventus continued to press their opponents and increased their advantage two minutes later, Lichtsteiner combining delightfully with Vidal before squaring the ball for Llorente, who gleefully tapped home for his second of the afternoon.
The Spaniard, who led the line well throughout, then had a hand in the Bianconeri’s fourth and final goal, with Lichtsteiner arriving first on the scene to carry his spilled shot over the line to round off a top performance at the Stadio Sant’Elia.
The result sees Conte’s men preserve their eight-point advantage at the top of Serie A following Roma’s 4-0 win over Genoa, a lead they will seek to increase when Sampdoria travel to Juventus Stadium next weekend.