Massimiliano Allegri’s men got back to winning ways on Sunday evening with a hard-fought 2-0 victory over Inter at Juventus Stadium.
The Bianconeri enjoyed the better of the first half, fashioning four shots on target to Inter’s zero, but were unable to capitalise on the opportunities that came their way.
If putting the ball in the back of the net proved the hosts’ problem before the break, they took just two minutes to atone afterwards when Leonardo Bonucci took full advantage of Danilo D’Ambrosio’s backward header to volley past a helpless Samir Handanovic.
And the champions eventually broke down Inter’s resistance once more in the 84th minute when second-half substitute Alvaro Morata kept his cool from the spot, wrapping up a win that sees them extend their advantage over second-placed Napoli to four points, who however have a game in hand tomorrow against Fiorentina.
Replacing the injured Claudio Marchisio in midfield and fresh from a fine second-half performance against Bayern Munich in midweek, Hernanes almost continued his fine record of scoring against former clubs, when in the fifth minute he rattled the underside of the crossbar from 25 yards.
The effort sparked a period of irresistible attacking play by the hosts in which they might and perhaps should have broken the deadlock when Paulo Dybala fluffed his lines from Mario Mandzukic’s cutback before the Croatian fired wide after controlling Stephan Lichtsteiner’s whipped cross.
Juve kept up the pressure and twice tested Handanovic again with another Hernanes drive from distance and Mandzukic’s close-range header, directed too close to the Slovenian stopper to cause him any problems.
Inter were seeing very little of the ball in the final third, but very nearly profited from potential openings on goal when Alex Telles’ free-kick was diverted away from the head of D’Ambrosio and Mauro Icardi failed to control Rodrigo Palacio’s cross, allowing Andrea Barzagli to make the decisive interception.
Back down the other end of the pitch, the Bianconeri continued to probe Inter’s penalty area, Paul Pogba’s raking pass picking out Mandzukic, but Handanovic raced off his line to knock the ball beyond the striker’s reach.
With that, Juventus had to settle going into half-time on level terms but they made sure that parity would barely last the first two minutes of the second period when Bonucci latched on to D’Ambrosio’s backward header before blasting home under a joyous Curva Sud.
The goal buoyed spirits among both fans and players, who reacted by instantly pursing a second strike of the evening, as Dybala dragged his effort wide on 52 minutes.
The next half hour would be starved of chances, as both teams cancelled each other out in midfield without managing to test either keeper.
That is until Morata entered the field of play for Dybala and earned a penalty kick, which he duly converted to bring his personal tally against Roberto Mancini’s men to three strikes already this term and all but seal the three points.
Inter would enjoy a late flurry, with Gianluigi Buffon alert to Adem Ljajic’s free-kick before blocking Felipe Melo’s close-range attempt.
And Juve’s captain excelled once more when he prevented Ivan Perisic from potentially reducing the deficit in the first minute of injury time.
In spite of this late pressure, the Bianconeri made sure of keeping a clean sheet, their 11th of the calendar year, and sewed up the win, upon which they will look to build in their next league outing away to Atalanta in a week’s time.