Juventus maintained their seven-point advantage at the top of Serie A after playing out a goalless draw with Udinese in this afternoon’s combative encounter at the Stadio Friuli.
The visitors had to contend with a spirited and aggressive Zebrette outfit, who closed down any space in midfield and battled tirelessly to come away with a result.
The best chances for Massimiliano Allegri’s men both came in the second half, with Roberto Pereyra hitting the angle of post and bar and Carlos Tevez spurning a late attempt when he looked odds on to score.
But they were ultimately left to accept a share of the spoils as Udinese dug deep to see out a late Bianconeri surge and cling on for a point.
Andrea Stramaccioni’s side, looking to end a three-month winless streak in front of their own faithful, were particularly purposeful in the opening 15 minutes, although they were left to rue Bruno Fernandes’ poor first touch after the midfielder spurned a good one-on-one situation fashioned by Antonio Di Natale’s pinpoint pass.
With Juventus struggling to settle into their natural rhythm, the hosts ramped up the pressure but found Gigi Buffon alert to beat out Cyril Thereau’s fierce strike following another swift counter attack on 23 minutes.
And, after Fernando Llorente headed Andrea Pirlo’s corner inches over the top, the goalkeeper’s services were required moments later to palm Fernandes’ 20-yard drive strike out of play for a corner.
Bossing possession with a first-half figure just shy of 70 per cent, it was in the final third where the Bianconeri were unable to make their presence felt despite the tireless running of Tevez and Llorente.
And more of the same was to follow after the break, although Allegri’s men did have to contend with a Udinese outfit showing greater thrust following Stramaccioni’s half-time words.
Despite this, the best chance of the game fell to the feet of Pereyra, who was unlucky to see his fierce drive cannon back off the angle of post and bar following Llorente’s neat chest down in the area on 58 minutes.
The introduction of Alvaro Morata, who replaced his fellow countryman on 67 minutes, offered the visitors a different dimension in attack and almost set Tevez up for a potential winner with five minutes remaining, only for the Argentine to blast high and wide from a great position inside the box.