The first Juventus shutout at the San Paolo in over 20 years couldn’t have come at a better time as the Bianconeri sealed a massive 1-0 win at Napoli on Friday night.
90 plus minutes of fully committed, resolute defending combined with Gonzalo Higuain’s first-half goal sees the Bianconeri move within a point of Napoli in one of the biggest results of the first half of the season.
A pulsating first 45 minutes saw Juventus nearly take the lead early as Douglas Costa slid in Higuain. An on-rushing Pepe Reina was able to deflect the Argentine’s shot out for a corner, but it was a warning sign of things to come.
In the 13th minute, Juventus would take a massive lead as a break led by Dybala saw the Argentines hook up with La Joya playing in Higuain. Pipita made no mistake slotting past Reina to give the Bianconeri a 1-0 advantage.
The goal set a new Serie A record 44 league games in a row finding the back of the net, breaking a record already held by Juventus.
After the goal, it would be Gianluigi Buffon stepping up to the challenge. The legendary goalkeeper made no less than five saves in the first half including two spectacular efforts to deny Lorenzo Insigne and keep the score 1-0 heading into the half-time break.
In the second half, it was a bit of backs to the wall for Juventus as Napoli looked to equalize while the Bianconeri held strong in their defensive shell.
Gianluigi Buffon, Kwadwo Asamoah and Mattia De Sciglio all logged huge plays in the second half and the Bianconeri nearly took the lead. In the 69th minute, Miralem Pjanic played a pinpoint cross to the back post where Blaise Matuidi had his effort spectacularly denied by Reina.
The Juve defense would hold strong for their first shutout at the San Paolo in nearly 20 years earning three points that move the Bianconeri into second in Serie A within a point of Napoli. Next up for Massimiliano Allegri’s side is an all-important trip to Athens in the final UCL group stage match before hosting Inter next Saturday night at Allianz Stadium in another massive league match.