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25 Sep 2012

Honours even in Florence

The Bianconeri emerge unscathed from a hard-fought battle against Fiorentina to stretch their unbeaten championship run to 44 games. 0-0 at the Artemio Franchi

Juventus extended their unbeaten Serie A run to 44 games courtesy of a hard-fought 0-0 draw against Fiorentina.

The Bianconeri came up against a home side in search of revenge following March’s 5-0 demolition at the Artemio Franchi and were required to withstand heavy Viola pressure for extended periods of the game. But the visitors dug in to claim a deserved draw and go three points clear of second-placed Napoli.

Antonio Conte went into the encounter with five changes from Saturday’s home success over Chievo. Barzagli, Lichtsteiner, Vidal, Pirlo and Giovinco returned to the starting line-up, while Quagliarella’s hot streak of goalscoring form saw him maintain his striking berth. Marchisio and Vucinic were named amongst the substitutes.

A relatively even opening sparked into life on nine minutes when Giovinco had the game’s first meaningful effort on goal. The striker wriggled free of his marker to dispatch a strong left-footed strike but saw his effort flash narrowly wide of the post with Viviano at full stretch.

The visitors then suffered a nervy moment when Vidal’s sliding challenge on Pasqual drew vociferous penalty appeals from the home faithful. The Chilean’s sliding tackle, however, was timed to perfection and referee Tagliavento waved play on.

The Viola continued to press and almost broke the deadlock when Jovetic headed Ljajic’s free-kick against the woodwork with five minutes remaining of the first half.

Two minutes later Ljajic broke free of Barzagli to go one-on-one with Buffon but dragged his shot wide of the target from a promising position.

Fiorentina maintained their high rhythm in the second period and went close through Roncaglia’s effort that whistled just wide of the upright on 53 minutes. Jovetic was next to try his luck but failed to trouble Buffon with a header that was always rising.

Carrera opted to add extra muscle by introducing Vucinic and Pogba in place of Quagliarella and Pirlo. The Frenchman, in particular, acquitted himself well in the heat of the battle, patrolling the middle of the park with a maturity defying his years.

After a combative final ten minutes, littered with fouls and frequent stoppages, Tagliavento’s whistle brought an end to the clash and confirmed a useful point for Juventus.

The Bianconeri will be satisfied with a share of the spoils from a notoriously tricky venue and will now look ahead to Saturday’s home encounter with Roma.

FIORENTINA 0-0 JUVENTUS

FIORENTINA
Viviano; Roncaglia, Rodriguez, Tomovic; Cuadrado, Romulo (Migliaccio 91), Pizarro, B. Valero, Pasqual; Ljajic (Matias Fernandez 76), Jovetic (Toni 87)

Substitutes not used: Neto, Lupatelli, Hegazy, Camporese, Savic, Cassani, Llama, Olivera, Seferovic.
Coach: Montella


JUVENTUS
Buffon; Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini; Lichtsteiner, Vidal, Pirlo (Pogba 68), Giaccherini (Marchisio 74), Asamoah; Giovinco, Quagliarella (Vucinic 58)
Substitutes not used: Storari, Rubinho, Lucio, Caceres, Marrone, De Ceglie, Isla, Bendtner, Matri.
Coach: Carrera

REFEREE: Tagliavento
ASSISTANTS: Di Liberatore, Cariolato
FOURTH OFFICIAL: Niccolai

BOOKINGS: Pizarro 39, Rodriguez 46, Ljajic 49, Vidal 56