A Carlos Tevez double and Fernando Llorente goal moved the Bianconeri to within one point of a fourth consecutive Scudetto with this evening’s 3-2 triumph over Fiorentina at Juventus Stadium.
After a low-key opening, an entertaining night of Serie A football sprung into life when Gonzalo Rodriguez put the visitors a goal to the good via the penalty spot on 33 minutes, only for a resounding Juventus fightback to ensure the Viola’s lead was short-lived.
Just two minutes after falling behind, Llorente pulled the hosts back into the affair with a header from Andrea Pirlo’s free kick, while Tevez completed the recovery by nodding Patrice Evra’s pinpoint delivery over a stranded Neto.
An ideal chance to get back into the game came when Vincenzo Montella’s men were awarded a second spot kick midway through the second half, but Rodriguez failed to reproduce his first effort, blasting wide from 12 yards.
The Argentine defender was made to pay for his mistake just three minutes later as an energetic Tevez sprung the offside trap and found the bottom corner with a clinical finish across goal.
Substitute Josip Ilicic’s tremendous free-kick on the stroke of full-time ensured the hosts would have to endure a nervy finale, but there were to be no further threats as Massimiliano Allegri’s men hung on to see out the win.
Results elsewhere - namely Lazio’s comfortable 4-0 triumph over Parma – mean the Scudetto champagne remained on ice for tonight, with one more point required on Saturday against Sampdoria required for the corks to be released.
Juventus dominated a cagey opening to proceedings but struggled to breach a stern Fiorentina rearguard, with blocked long-range attempts from Stefano Sturaro and Claudio Marchisio the closest either side came to breaking the deadlock inside the opening quarter of an hour.
A better opportunity was fashioned on 20 minutes by Llorente, one of six changes from Sunday’s starting line-up against Torino, yet the forward was unable to get any real power behind his strike after rolling his marker to perfection inside the area.
Fiorentina, galvanised by the raw pace of Mohamed Salah, grew into the affair as the first half wore on and Gigi Buffon had to be alert on two occasions to clear his lines as the visitors upped the ante.
Their increasing pressure yielded a golden opportunity to take the lead when Pirlo tripped Joaquin in the box, leaving Luca Banti with no option but to point to the spot. Rodriguez it was who stepped up, smashing a perfect penalty into the top corner.
But the Viola barely had time to bask in the glory of their opener, as Juventus levelled matters just two minutes later. Pirlo atoned for his foul in the box by sending in an inch perfect free-kick from the edge of the box, and Llorente planted a trademark header beyond a helpless Neto.
With the wind firmly in their sails, the hosts continued to attack and were unfortunate not to fully overturn the scoreline just moments later, with Neto riding to Fiorentina’s rescue courtesy of a save from Evra’s close-range header.
After being denied, the Frenchman, back in his usual position on the left flank, delivered a precise cross straight into the path of Tevez, whose magnificent header looped over a motionless Neto to put Juventus in front on the stroke of half time.
Showing greater confidence in the second half, Fiorentina came out with a more attacking approach and the wing play of Joaquin once again outfoxed the Bianconeri rearguard in the box, this time Giorgio Chiellini the offending party in sending the Spaniard to ground.
Following a confident finish in the first half, Rodriguez seemed the natural candidate to step up once again, only to fluff his lines and send the ball wide, yielding cheers of delight from the home faithful at Juventus Stadium.
There was to be no reprieve for the Argentine centre-back, though, as Tevez latched on to a lofted pass from front to back and kept his cool to beat Neto with a fine finish across goal on 70 minutes.
A late free-kick from Ilicic meant the Bianconeri would have to wait four further minutes of added time to be certain of the three points, with the final whistle greeted by a rapturous ovation from the crowd.
All eyes now on the Luigi Ferraris, where one more hurdle remains for Allegri’s men.