The Bianconeri bounce back from a goal down to end 2012 with a deserved win in Parma. Substitutes Matri (2) and Vucinic on target
A spirited second-half display earned the Bianconeri a deserved 3-1 victory from a hard-fought encounter with Cagliari at Parma’s Stadio Tardini.
The visitors struggled to impose their free flowing passing game in the first-half and fell behind when Pinilla stroked home from the spot on 16 minutes.
But Conte’s men upped the ante following the interval and gained a warranted equaliser through substitute Matri on 75 minutes.
The former Cagliari frontman doubled his tally to put the Bianconeri in front in added time, with fellow substitute Vucinic completing the rout by tapping home late on.
Cagliari, who went into the encounter without a win in seven games, pinned the Bianconeri deep inside their own half in an aggressive opening to proceedings.
Their perseverance was rewarded when Vidal clipped Sau in the penalty area on 15 minutes, prompting Damato to point to the penalty spot. Pinilla stepped up to lash his spot kick beyond the grasp of Buffon and into the top corner.
Juve’s responded instantly and almost got back on level terms when Asamaoh’s cross flashed across the face of goal, with Quagliarella a whisker away from steering the ball on target.
Conte’s rallying cry at the break saw Juventus emerge for the second-half with added drive and intensity.
Marchisio stung the fingertips of Agazzi with a rasping drive on 48 minutes, but Sau provided a warning of Cagliari’s potential on the counter by almost catching Buffon unawares with a curling shot on the turn moments later.
The visitors thought they had snatched an equaliser when substitute Matri reacted quickest to Bonucci’s header off the crossbar, only to see Agazzi perform miracles to prevent the ball from crossing the line.
The Bianconeri’s unrelenting approach saw the game spark into life and, with temperatures threatening to boil over on the field of play, Astori was given his marching orders for a second bookable offence.
With Vucinic introduced to sharpen up the Juventus attack, it was only a matter of time until the visitors got back on level terms. Del Rosso’s foul on Giovinco in the box appeared to represent the ideal opportunity to restore parity, only for Vidal to pass up the opportunity by sending the ball skywards.
Undeterred, Juventus continued to stream forward in their quest for a goal and found the target when Matri pounced to sweep home Vucinic’s parried attempt on 75 minutes.
But the Bianconeri weren’t finished there as Agazzi, who performed further heroics by clawing away Asamoah’s header with two minutes of normal time remaining, was left to rue some poor defending which enabled Matri to fire into the corner and provoke rapturous scenes on the Juventus bench.
And with the six minutes of added time drawing to a close, Vucinic arrived late in the box to force Giovinco’s attempt over the line and guarantee a winning end to 2012.
CAGLIARI 1-3 JUVENTUS
GOALS: Pinilla 16, Matri 75, Matri 90+2, Vucinic 90+5
Agazzi; Pisano, Astori, Ariaudo, Murru (Perico 53); Dessena, Nainggolan, Ekdal; Thiago Ribeiro; Pinilla (Nené 76), Sau (Del Fabro 67)
Substitutes not used: Avramov, Avelar, Anderson, Casarini, Cossu.
Buffon; Barzagli, Bonucci, Caceres (Padoin 62); Lichtsteiner (Vucinic 73), Vidal, Pirlo, Marchisio, Asamoah; Quagliarella (Matri 61), Giovinco.
Substitutes not used: Storari, Rubinho, De Ceglie, Marrone, Pogba, Giaccherini, Isla.
ASSISTANTS: Bianchi, Paganessi
FOURTH OFFICIAL: Tonolini
BOOKED: Ariaudo 20, Vidal 27, Murru 29, Astori 37, Lichtsteiner 54, Dessena 57, Pisano 60, Astori 65
SENT OFF: Astori 65