Gonzalo Higuain netted the winning goal against his former club Napoli on Saturday night, helping the Bianconeri to a dramatic 2-1 victory over their title rivals at Juventus Stadium.
Having switched Naples for Turin during the summer, this fixture took on the intriguing sub-plot of pitting Juve’s club record signing against the side for whom he scored 91 times in three years.
And Pipita’s clinical left-footed strike tonight is the latest proof of why the Old Lady were so keen to secure his services, helping them maintain top spot and extend their lead over second-placed Roma to five points before the Giallorossi play tomorrow.
Tonight was far from a straightforward contest, however. An enthralling first half would see chances come at an absolute premium, with both sides carving out only one shot on target apiece.
Juve’s best opportunity before the break fell to Higuain, who in the 25th minute collected Sami Khedira’s ball just in front of goal and got away an effort that was blocked by the visiting defence.
That lack of goalmouth action in the first period however was made up for early in the second, Leonardo Bonucci lashing home from close range after picking up the pieces from a corner Napoli failed to clear.
But the Bianconeri’s lead would last just four minutes when Jose Callejon caught Lorenzo Insigne’s left-wing cross on the volley to guide home an equaliser and his seventh league goal of the season.
With the scores level, the visitors were doing a good job of stunting many more Juve attacks. That is until the moment that would ultimately steal the headlines.
As the clock struck 70 minutes, a lofted ball for Khedira was headed clear, but unwittingly into Higuain’s path. Time seemed to stand still as Pipita struck low and hard into the bottom corner, a goal that virtually brought the house down and allowed Juve to get their noses in front for a second occasion in the match.
This time, Massimiliano Allegri’s men were in no mood to surrender their advantage, even if their box led a relatively charmed life in the closing stages, while, at the other end, Higuain may even have doubled his tally on the night with a header that finished wide of the mark.
Pipita had already more than played his part, however, in a victory that sent the home fans very happy just four days before they return for next week’s Champions League tie against Lyon.