Goals either side of half time from Carlos Tevez and Roberto Pereyra preserved the Bianconeri’s 14-point lead at the top of the table with this evening’s 2-0 triumph over Empoli at Juventus Stadium.
After seeing several chances come and go throughout the course of the first half, Tevez made no mistake when invited to convert Arturo Vidal’s indirect free-kick from six yards, gleefully lashing home for his 17th Serie A strike of the campaign with 43 minutes on the clock.
Empoli grew in stature during the second half and the Bianconeri had Gigi Buffon to thank for preserving the three points, with several top saves denying the plucky visitors a share of the spoils.
But the final outcome was put beyond any doubt just seconds from the final whistle, when substitute Pereyra arrived first on the scene to convert Tevez’s blocked effort.
It was an energetic start by the hosts and Tevez, seemingly free of the jet lag which had put his place in
the starting line-up in doubt, had the first effort on goal with just four minutes on the clock, drawing a smart stop from Luigi Sepe after dispossessing Daniele Rugani outside the box.
The Argentine assassin renewed his duel with the Empoli shotstopper 15 minutes later, leaving two defenders trailing in his wake with a swift turn in the area before executing a neat dink that was blocked by the onrushing goalkeeper.
While the Bianconeri maintained the upper hand throughout the first half, Maurizio Sarri’s visitors proved they weren’t in Turin to make up the numbers, defending stoutly whilst also looking to express themselves further forward when granted the opportunity.
Their patience saw them carve out a decent opening five minutes ahead of the break when Massimo Maccarone gathered Riccardo Saponara’s pass before racing through on goal, only to thrash his effort wide of the bark from a promising position.
He and his Empoli team-mates were left to rue that missed opportunity just three minutes later, as Tevez unleashed a thunderous strike from all of six yards after Sepe had handled Rugani’s backpass.
The start of the second half yielded a more ambitious approach by the visitors but they found themselves up against a tricky customer in Buffon, who pulled off a remarkable stop to keep Manuel Pucciarelli’s header at bay when the striker looked odds on to score.
And further Buffon heroics were required on 69 minutes, with Daniele Croce foiled by the goalkeeper after Pucciarelli had been cleverly forced wide from a one-on-one situation.
Now with Alvaro Morata on in place of Fernando Llorente, Juventus sought to put the final outcome beyond any doubt in the closing stages of the contest.
Their best chance to wrap up the three points fell to the feet of Arturo Vidal, yet the midfielder was unable to guide his side-footed attempt from the edge of the box on target.
A nervy finale, featuring five minutes of added on time, gave way to cheers of jubilation when Pereyra steered the ball over the line late on to take the team another significant step towards a historic fourth consecutive Scudetto title.