A superb strike from substitute Alvaro Morata saw Juventus end Palermo’s six-month unbeaten run on home soil with this evening’s 1-0 win at the Stadio Renzo Barbera, a result that takes the reigning champions 14 points clear at the top of the league.
Following an evenly matched first 45 minutes lacking in decent chances for either side, the introduction of Morata midway through the second half helped turn the tide in the Bianconeri’s favour.
A curling effort from the striker with 20 minutes remaining was a worthy matchwinner in an encounter low on attacking excitement, and Massimiliano Allegri will be pleased with the way his men put in a disciplined defensive display against a side who have made their home ground a fortress since returning to the top flight.
The game’s opening exchanges were characterised by a closely-fought battle between two teams operating with the same 3-5-2 formation, both equally determined to stamp their authority on proceedings.
Juventus, though, looked the more likely of the teams to open the scoring, creating a greater amount of opportunities in the final third thanks to the willing running of Carlos Tevez.
It was the Argentine who produced the first noteworthy effort of the affair on 18 minutes, forcing Stefano Sorrentino to block a strike that was ultimately too hot to handle for the Palermo shotstopper.
The hosts grew into the game as the first half progressed, enjoying spells of possession and gaining territory in certain fragments beyond the half-hour mark, but the Bianconeri defence, featuring Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini for the first time since May 2014, never looked like being breached.
Extra intensity was added to the Bianconeri’s ranks for the start of the second half, with Arturo Vidal replacing debutant Stefano Sturaro. His fellow South American, Tevez, remained the visitors’ best bet to break the deadlock, seeing a free-kick fisted away by Sorrentino just six minutes into the restart.
He would have a new strike partner moments later, as Allegri sought to bring a different dimension to the Juventus attack by introducing Morata to the fray.
It took the Spaniard just ten minutes to make his mark. With his first opportunity of the game, he sent in an unstoppable curling effort from the fringes of the box that sailed past Sorrentino’s despairing dive and into the bottom corner.
That moment of magic proved enough to wrap up another important three points in the Bianconeri’s quest for a fourth Scudetto, with the result lifting them 14 clear of nearest challengers Roma, who entertain Sampdoria tomorrow night.
Next up, Dortmund.