Juventus had to fight back from a goal down to beat Cagliari 4-1 in Sardinia, their 11th consecutive victory.
The Bianconeri went into this game on cloud nine, having won 10 in a row and crushed Roma to go eight points clear at the top of the table. The Winter Champion crown was already secured and Antonio Conte only missed the suspended Andrea Barzagli. Cagliari had lost star midfielder Radja Nainggolan with his move to Roma, while Nene, Sebastian Eriksson and Michael Agazzi were out, but they were unbeaten in seven.
Only 5,000 fans were allowed into the Stadio Sant’Elia due to restructuring work, but Manchester United manager David Moyes was among those in the stands, reportedly to watch Cagliari defender Davide Astori.
It was Cagliari who took a shock lead from a worked corner, which was knocked on by Daniele Conti for the unmarked Mauricio Pinilla to fire in from seven yards at the back post. It was a crucial morale-booster for the Chilean, who had missed a penalty in last week’s 0-0 draw with Chievo.
It was almost 2-0 soon after, as from another corner kick Conti was allowed a free header over the bar. Gigi Buffon then leapt to palm a Pinilla snapshot round the upright, but Juventus drew level thanks to Fernando Llorente. The Spaniard soared above Rossettini to nod a Stephan Lichtsteiner cross into the top corner.
Cagliari were still very sharp and Daniele Dessena got on top of Kwadwo Asamoah to get a diving header on to Nicola Murru’s cross, forcing a spectacular reaction save from Buffon.
Adan smothered an Arturo Vidal rocket and Lichtsteiner failed to finish off a good Asamoah assist. The tension was growing after the break and Carlos Tevez tested Adan, while Pinilla failed to make the most of a misunderstanding between Buffon and Giorgio Chiellini.
Claudio Marchisio came off the bench and gave Juventus the lead for the first time this afternoon. He hit an absolute rocket from 25 metres, but ex-Real Madrid goalkeeper Antonio Adan could’ve done better, as he did get his hands to it.
Juve broke away at the Sant’Elia with a third moments later. Lichtsteiner combined with Vidal on the right and rolled a ball across the face of goal for Llorente to tap in, completing his brace.
Adan’s confidence was clearly shaken, as he then made an even worse howler by fumbling Llorente’s timid angled drive and allowing Lichtsteiner to follow it up.
The tension got to Pinilla, who was sent off for dissent late on.
Sent off: Pinilla 86 (C)