A first-half Carlos Tevez brace allowed Juventus to deliver a positive response to nearest title challengers Roma with this evening’s 2-1 triumph over Parma in Turin.
A last-gasp Giallorossi winner over Torino in last night’s clash at the Stadio Olimpico meant the heat was back on the Bianconeri to restore their 14-point advantage at the top of the table, and they did so thanks to two well-taken Tevez strikes that take him above Ciro Immobile in the race for this season’s top goalscorer accolade.
Parma rallied after the break and reversed the deficit on 62 minutes through a Cristian Molinaro rocket from the edge of the area, but the Bianconeri rode out the remainder of the affair to clinch another crucial three points in their quest for a third consecutive Scudetto.
Antonio Conte’s reigning champions made a lively start to proceedings, comfortably commanding possession across the opening 15 minutes, without ever genuinely threatening visiting goalkeeper Antonio Mirante.
In contrast, Parma, mirroring Juventus’ 3-5-2 approach, sat back and waited for their opportunity to catch the hosts cold on the break. It was a tactic which almost paid dividends when Alessandro Lucarelli’s diagonal pass from right to left picked out Molinaro ghosting in at the back post, only for the defender to be denied by a reflex Gigi Buffon stop from point-blank range.
This paved the way for a challenging spell for the Bianconeri, who made hard work of keeping the ball with the same ease displayed in the opening stages.
It took an error from Gabriel Paletta on 25 minutes to reignite matters, with Tevez gleefully profiting from his miscontrol by leaving two defenders trailing in his wake before squeezing the ball past Mirante.
It wasn’t long before the Argentine was wheeling away in celebration for a second time in quick succession. Picking up the pieces after Arturo Vidal saw his close-range drive repelled by Mirante, Tevez arrived first on the scene to bundle home from a matter of yards seven minutes later.
With confidence flowing after dampening Parma’s initial exuberance, Juventus continued to push forward and could have made it three when Vidal’s low cross fizzed across the face of goal towards Fernando Llorente, who was only prevented from adding to the advantage by a last-ditch intervention which was subsequently swept up by Mirante.
Galvanised by Roberto Donadoni’s words at the half-time break, Parma, who approached the encounter boasting a 17-game unbeaten run in Serie A, emerged with greater thrust and grabbed the goal their increased pressure perhaps merited when Molinaro thumped an emphatic left-footed shot past Buffon from just inside the area on 62 minutes.
But the Gialloblu's revival soon hit the buffers when, moments later, Amauri was shown a straight red card for leading with his elbow when contesting an aerial challenge with Giorgio Chiellini.
As the second half wore on, Conte opted for a change of tack in the final third, introducing Fabio Quagliarella in place of Llorente. The Campania-born frontman had the opportunity to make an instant impact, gathering Tevez’s clever inside pass before pivoting neatly on the edge of the area, but was unable to guide his shot either side of Mirante.
His strike partner went inches away from completing his hat-trick as the clock ticked down towards the dying embers, seeing a right-footed shot from the fringes of the area whistle inches past the post with Mirante at full stretch.
An in-form Parma pushed to find late riposte and left Bianconeri hearts in mouths when they almost squeezed the ball home during a frantic goalmouth scramble, but a combination of Buffon and Leonardo Bonucci enabled the hosts to hold on and preserve this season’s 100 per cent Serie A record at Juventus Stadium.