The Montenegrin hits a quick-fire double to record the Bianconeri’s fourth successive Serie A victory in this evening’s 2-1 win over Pescara
A Mirko Vucinic double helped overcome an inspired goalkeeping display by Ivan Pelizzoli as Juventus maintained their Scudetto charge with this evening’s 2-1 triumph over relegation-threatened Pescara.
The Bianconeri were good value for the three points after dominating from start to finish but were made to wait until 73 minutes before finding a way past a seemingly unbeatable Pelizzoli.
Vucinic converted from the spot after Arturo Vidal was felled in the area and doubled his individual tally five minutes later with a precise shot from close range.
Emmanuel Cascione’s late rocket sparked fears of a visitors’ comeback, but Juventus saw out the remaining seven minutes plus stoppage time to record their fourth consecutive Serie A victory.
Despite doing much of the early running and commanding the lion’s share of possession, Antonio Conte’s men were largely restricted to long-range attempts on goal as they laboured to get in behind Pescara’s well-marshalled backline.
Paul Pogba guided a 20-yard attempt over the bar on seven minutes, while the same fate befell Vucinic when he tried his luck with a right-footed pile driver just moments later.
On 11 minutes, Stephan Lichtsteiner’s inviting cross fell kindly into the path of Emanuele Giaccherini, whose volley on the turn was instinctively parried by Pelizzoli in the visitors’ goal.
Undeterred, Juventus kept rampaging forward and thought they had seized the advantage when Sebastian Giovinco bundled his way into the area on 16 minutes, only for Pelizzoli to thwart his toe-poked attempt with a sharp dash off his line.
The goalkeeper again earned his spurs on 24 minutes, spreading himself to perform an excellent block after an unmarked Vidal had steered Vucinic’s precise cross on target with a well-timed volley from close range.
The introduction of Fabio Quagliarella, an enforced change after Giovinco departed the action on a stretcher, offered the Bianconeri another dimension in attack and only Pelizzoli’s magnificent tip on to the post prevented the Naples-born frontman from breaking the deadlock ten minutes before the interval.
As the seconds ticked down to the midway point in proceedings, Pescara again had the 32-year-old shotstopper to thank after he plunged to his left to keep out Giaccherini’s effort which arrowed ominously towards the bottom corner.
Juventus emerged for the second half with increased impetus and had the opportunity to take the lead when Kwadwo Asamoah’s fierce cross from the byline was beaten back into path of Vucinic. The Montenegrin, however, snatched at the chance and saw his volley drop wide of goal.
It looked like it was going to be another one of those evenings for the hosts as an inspired Pelizzoli grew in stature with every save made. Next to threaten was Quagliarella, with the goalkeeper again proving equal to the task by touching his volleyed attempt over the upright.
But the heavy flow of one way traffic at Juventus Stadium eventually proved too much for the visitors to resist as a neat free-kick routine resulted in Vidal being felled by Rizzo’s clumsy challenge from behind.
Penalty to Juventus. Pescara down to ten men. Vucinic dusted himself down and assumed the responsibility, making no mistake with a 73rd minute spot kick which evaded Pelizzoli’s despairing dive.
And the 29-year-old looked to have put the result beyond any doubt five minutes later with a well-placed curling strike into the bottom corner that left Pelizzoli with no chance.
Pescara, however, drew on all their battling instincts and clawed their way back into the encounter when Cascione’s unstoppable effort flew past Marco Storari with seven minutes remaining.
Yet there was to be no final twist in the tale as Juventus held on for a vital three points which make their dreams of a second consecutive Scudetto triumph appear an ever-increasing reality.
JUVENTUS 2-1 PESCARA
GOALS: Vucinic 73 (pen), Vucinic 78, Cascione 83
Storari; Bonucci (Isla 81), Marrone, Peluso; Lichtsteiner, Vidal, Pogba, Giaccherini, Asamoah; Giovinco (Quagliarella 32), Vucinic (Matri 79).
Substitutes not used: Buffon, Rubinho, De Ceglie, Padoin, Marchisio, Pirlo, Rugani.
Pelizzoli; Zanon, Kroldrup (Bianchi Arce 70), Capuano, Modesto; Togni, Rizzo; Sculli, Quintero (Bjarnason 58), Caprari (Cascione 66); Sforzini.
Substitutes not used: Perin, Vittiglio, Cosic, Blasi, Abbruscato, Caraglio, Di Francesco, Vukusic.
ASSISTANTS: Petrella, Musolino
FOURTH OFFICIAL: Paganessi
BOOKINGS: Lichtsteiner 50, Vucinic 73, Modesto 88
SENT OFF: Rizzo 73