When you’re challenging for titles, it doesn’t always matter how you win games. The crucial thing is doing so. This was far from Juventus’ prettiest performance of the season, but they take three points of utmost importance back to Turin.
Thanks to Federico Bernardeschi’s match-winner in the 74th minute, the Bianconeri stay hot on the heels of Napoli, who sit just one point clear at the top of the Serie A table going into the winter break.
Make no mistake, this was also a game full of flashpoints and scoring opportunities for both teams and the final score really could – and perhaps should – have been different to the 1-0 win it eventually ended up as.
From the moment that Paulo Dybala struck the crossbar with a fierce free-kick in the ninth minute, Juve created the lion’s share of chances with Gonzalo Higuain firing narrowly wide and Bernardeschi catching the inside of the post with a spectacular drive from the right wing.
The Bianconeri even had the ball in the back of the net on 21 minutes when Medhi Benatia poked in from a free-kick, but the Moroccan was correctly flagged for offside.
The visitors were very nearly made to pay for their near misses in the 26th minute: Cagliari striker, Leonardo Pavoletti, rose highest at a corner and his bullet header looked certain to be going in, but in his way stood Wojciech Szczesny, who made a superb save low down to his right before punching clear with his other glove.
The hosts looked to be growing in confidence, with Andrea Barzagli needed to make a last-ditch challenge on Diego Farias in the box and the Rossoblù forward forced Szczesny into another stunning save. This time the Pole somehow got a hand to Farias’ ferocious shot, tipping it on to the near post.