Juventus again left it late as they defeated Udinese 1-0 on Saturday through Danilo’s tap-in to extend their winning run in Serie A without conceding to eight matches.
The hosts paid tribute to Gianluca Vialli ahead of their first match since the death of their former striker on Friday from pancreatic cancer at the age of 58.
It had looked like being a frustrating day for Massimiliano Allegri’s in-form side as draw speciallists Udinese held firm for 86 minutes at the Allianz Stadium until Danilo struck.
Juve, who also scored a late winner against Cremonese on Wednesday, are now within four points of leaders and next opposition Napoli having played a game more.
Injury-hit Juventus welcomed World Cup winner Angel Di Maria back into their starting line-up and the Argentina international was the standout player of a goalless first half.
He picked out Daniele Rugani, who had a header acrobatically saved, and then played in Moise Kean for a big chance the forward could not convert past Marco Silvestri.
Silvestri again made himself big to deny Filip Kostic after Kean had sent another close-range effort over the crossbar from close range.
Udinese offered an occasional attacking threat, with Wojciech Szczesny keeping out Walace and Rodrigo Becao, and Juve fans grew more and more frustrated.
But that frustration turned to relief when Leandro Paredes picked out fellow substitute Federico Chiesa, who in turn played the ball across goal for a simple finish for Danilo.
Juve keep momentum going
Juve have found a way to grind out victories even when not playing well, with this their eighth win in a row without conceding in Serie A for the first time since March 2018.
Allegri’s side finished with an expected goals return of 2.32 and will feel good value for their win against Udinese, who are now winless in nine.
It may not have been a thriller, but Juve supporters did at least leave Allianz Stadium with smiles on their faces on a day the club paid tribute to legendary figure Vialli.
Di Maria hits the ground running.
Di Maria was making his first appearance since Argentina’s World Cup final win against France three weeks ago and looked a man on a mission.
He may only have played 66 minutes before going off but he still created a game-high five key chances, which unfortunately for him his team-mates could not put away.
Kean anything but clinical
Kean had four of Juve’s 14 shots and should have converted one of them, but only once could he test opposition goalkeeper Silvestri.
After a good run of form prior to the World Cup break, it is now back-to-back matches without a goal for the Italy international.