Vidal and Marchisio strike at the death to seal this season's second success over Torino, leaving the Bianconeri on the brink of their 31st Scudetto title
Late goals from Arturo Vidal and Claudio Marchisio enabled the Bianconeri to complete a seasonal derby double over inter-city rivals Torino with this afternoon’s 2-0 win at the Stadio Olimpico.
Both teams played their part in an entertaining battle contested in difficult conditions, but Antonio Conte’s men eventually made the gulf in class tell to earn a victory that takes them to within a point of claiming the club’s 31st Scudetto title.
With the game seemingly heading towards a draw following a hotly contested 86 minutes, Vidal silenced the home faithful with a thunderous strike outside the area that left Gillet with no chance.
And Turin-born Marchisio put the final outcome beyond any doubt in stoppage time, lashing home from close range after connecting with Fabio Quagliarella’s unselfish header across the face of goal.
Conte named an unchanged line-up for the third successive fixture, with Marchisio again reprising his free role behind lone striker Mirko Vucinic.
A vociferous crowd at the Stadio Olimpico was treated to a typical derby opening to proceedings as both sides attempted to seize control of the midfield battle with some feisty exchanges in the driving rain.
The first opportunity of the affair fell to the feet of Vucinic after Paul Pogba’s magnificent slide-rule pass had sent him in behind Angelo Ogbonna and one-on-one with Jean-François Gillet. The Montenegrin, however, snatched at the chance and dragged his right-footed effort wide of the target.
Juventus took heart from their early foray into Torino’s final third and cranked up the tempo in search of a breakthrough. Marchisio’s shot on the turn was beaten clear by Gillet on 17 minutes, while only Kamil Gilk’s last-ditch goal-line clearance prevented Pogba from opening the scoring just moments later.
Having staved off a good spell of pressure from the visitors, Torino responded in kind and went back on the offensive. Conte had used his pre-match press conference to warn of the threat posed by wingers Alessio Cerci and Mario Santana – and it was the Granata duo who looked most likely to dent the Bianconeri’s run of seven derby days without conceding.
After skipping past the challenge of Giorgio Chiellini with a purposeful dart down the right flank, Cerci whipped in a dangerous cross which drifted invitingly towards the head of Santana. Marchisio, however, read the situation to perfection and performed a crucial interception to nick the ball away from the Argentinean.
Seconds later, Santana turned provider and swung in a teasing delivery which was headed just over the upright by Torino top scorer Rolando Bianchi.
As the game became increasingly stretched, Stephan Lichtsteiner experienced plenty of joy down the right-hand side and was presented with an excellent opportunity to pull the trigger after being played into the box by Pogba on 29 minutes. The Swiss defender instead opted to cross and Torino succeeded in clearing the danger.
Despite the conditions impeding the Bianconeri’s traditional slick passing approach, Conte’s men stuck to their principles and had the ball in the back of the net on 37 minutes following a neat combination between Vucinic and Marchisio, only for the latter to see his clipped effort ruled out for offside.
But Torino refused to lie down and Santana almost had the home supporters on their feet moments before half time with a 25-yard curling attempt that drew a fine save from Gigi Buffon.
The start of the second half brought more of the same as both sides sought to gain the upper hand in a congested midfield battle. Pirlo, kept on a tight leash throughout by man marker Riccardo Meggiorini, worked tirelessly to exert his influence on the affair and unlock the hosts’ determined rearguard.
Despite the Bianconeri looking relatively comfortable throughout an evenly-matched second period, Torino almost snatched the lead with ten minutes remaining after Jonathas went a whisker away from turning Cerci’s menacing cross home.
But Conte’s men were unrelenting in their approach and, after Pogba had spurned a late opportunity to seize the advantage, received their just rewards when Vidal netted his fourth goal in three games with an unstoppable effort that arrowed past Gillet’s despairing dive on 86 minutes.
And local boy Marchisio put the icing on the cake in stoppage time, reacting quickest to substitute Quagliarella’s header across goal before slamming home with aplomb.
TORINO 0-2 JUVENTUS
GOALS: Vidal 86, Marchisio 90+2
Gillet; D'Ambrosio (Di Cesare 74), Glik, Ogbonna, Masiello; Basha, Gazzi; Cerci, Bianchi, Meggiorini (Jonathas 66), Santana (Birsa 83).
Substitutes not used: Coppola, Caceres, Rodriguez, Bakic, Menga, Brighi, Barreto.
Buffon; Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini; Lichtsteiner (Caceres 74), Vidal, Pirlo, Pogba, Asamoah (Peluso 90+1); Marchisio; Vucinic (Quagliarella 74).
Substitutes not used: Storari, Rubinho, Marrone, De Ceglie, Padoin, Giaccherini, Matri, Giovinco, Bendtner.
ASSISTANTS: Nicoletti, Grilli
FOURTH OFFICIAL: Viazzi
BOOKINGS: Lichtsteiner 44, Meggiorini 44, Masiello 57, Glik 78, Glik 90
SENT OFF: Glik 90