A stunning Andrea Pirlo strike from the edge of the area with four seconds of added time remaining lifted Juventus to their seventh consecutive Derby della Mole triumph over inter-city rivals Torino with this evening’s dramatic 2-1 win at Juventus Stadium.
Down to ten men after Stephan Lichtsteiner was given his marching orders on 78 minutes for two yellow cards, the Bianconeri maintained their belief and got their reward right at the death when the midfielder pulled off his umpteenth masterpiece to put his team six points clear at the top ahead of Roma’s meeting with Inter later tonight.
The tone for a pulsating night of Serie A football was set by two early goals, Arturo Vidal putting the hosts in front from the spot on 15 minutes before a sensational Bruno Peres run and finish levelled matters eight minutes later.
And with the tension rising as both teams sensed their chances of claiming a winner as the second half wore on, there were chances at both ends as excitement levels at Juventus Stadium reached fever pitch.
But the loudest cheer of the night was reserved for Pirlo, who crashed home an unstoppable drive to send the home faithful into ecstasy. The opening exchanges of the game fell firmly in the Bianconeri’s favour, with Torino struggling to get out of their own half as the hosts kept them firmly pegged back with fervent pressing.
A brief warning sign, however, was fired by Fabio Quagliarella, whose firm strike from an indirect free-kick from range on 10 minutes was gathered by Marco Storari, deputising in place of the injured Gigi Buffon.
Another set piece, this time down the opposite end, handed Juventus a golden opportunity to take the lead three minutes later. Andrea Pirlo’s free-kick struck the hand of Omar El Kaddouri, leaving Daniele Orsato no option but to point to the spot. Up stepped Vidal, who kept his composure to send Gillet the wrong way twice after seeing his initial effort chalked off for an infringement in the area.
Tasked with producing an instant response, the Granata rose to the challenge by getting back on even terms eight minutes later, a fine solo run from Peres leaving several Bianconeri bodies trailing in his wake before capping it off with a finish to match.
The equaliser saw Torino grow in confidence and pose an increasing number of questions in the final third, where both goalkeepers were required to be alert as the attacking threats from either side began to manifest themselves.
A late Juventus flurry towards the end of the first half, spearheaded by the returning Patrice Evra on the left flank, could have restored their lead but first Vidal then Tevez spurned decent opportunities from inside the area.
In spite of the Bianconeri enjoying a decent opening to the second half, it was in fact Torino who went a whisker away from taking the lead on 51 minutes when Fabio Quagliarella rolled his shot just wide from a matter of yards under pressure from the advancing Storari.
Back came Juventus, with Leonardo Bonucci forcing Jean-Francois Gillet into a diving stop from all of 30 yards, before Tevez fired over the top after gaining a sight of goal from just outside the box.
The introductions of Alvaro Morata and Roberto Pereyra in place of Fernando Llorente and Claudio Marchisio gave the Bianconeri fresh impetus with which to approach the final half hour.
But with Torino closing ranks and seemingly happy to settle for a point, the hosts were forced to dig deep and show patience in their bid to find a way through. They thought their moment had come when Pereyra squared for Vidal to tap home on 76 minutes, only for the linesman to spot the Chilean in an offside position and raise his flag accordingly.
Moments later their task became even more taxing when Stephan Lichtsteiner was given his marching orders by Orsato for a rash challenge on Omar El Kaddouri, his second bookable offence of the game.
With Massimiliano Allegri’s side down to ten men, Torino began to believe in their chances of breaking a 19-year derby day jinx by claiming a winner. They went close through Kamil Glik and El Kaddouri, but a combination of imprecision and Storari’s safe hands kept them at bay.
The final say, however, was had by Pirlo, who took the roof off when he smashed home an unbelievable strike from the edge of the area to ensure the bragging rights remain black and white for the seventh successive derby meeting.