Kwadwo Asamoah’s fantastic individual goal proved enough for Juventus to beat Fiorentina, though Ryder Matos hit the bar.
This was the first in a triple bill, as these old rivals will also face off in the Europa League on March 13 and 20. The Bianconeri were looking for a 14th consecutive home victory, while the Viola had won just one of their last 21 visits to Turin. Andrea Pirlo was suspended, Mirko Vucinic injured, Leonardo Bonucci rested and Daniel Osvaldo on paternity leave, so Claudio Marchisio was the deep-lying playmaker. Fiorentina had Borja Valero and Nenad Tomovic banned, Giuseppe Rossi and Ante Rebic sidelined, but Mario Gomez was in the starting XI and seeking his first goal since rupturing knee ligaments in September.
The hosts poured pressure on from the start, though Carlos Tevez’s shot was charged down, Stephan Lichtseiner blasted wide with the outside of his boot from an inspired Arturo Vidal assist and Apache fired over from a tight angle. Andrea Barzagli charged down an Alberto Aquilani strike.
On 25 minutes Juve had a great chance, as Kwadwo Asamoah’s effort was deflected and forced Neto into a desperate one-handed reaction save. From the resulting corner, Asamoah’s angled drive flashed wide.
Paul Pogba should’ve done better when left in acres of space in the box, but he controlled a Barzagli cross with his knee and volleyed over.
Juan Manuel Vargas pounced on a poor defensive pass only for his shot to be blocked off, but he was crucial at the other end with practically a goalline clearance to stop Vidal nodding in a Pogba-flicked corner at the back post.
Juventus finally broke the deadlock before half-time with a great goal from Asamoah. He cut in from the left between a group of purple jerseys, rolled the ball along the sole of his boot to break free and curled a scorching finish in off the inside of the far post with his weaker right foot.
Modibo Diakite had the ball in the net after the restart, but was flagged offside. Replays suggest it was an extremely tight decision as the free kick was floated in.
Llorente dispossessed a distracted David Pizarro and sent Tevez through, but his pull-back for the Spaniard was crucially intercepted by Neto.
Mario Gomez had a great chance to equalise just shy of the hour mark, but his glancing free header was wide of the far post when the Juventus defence had forgotten about him.
Rafal Wolski replaced the disappointing Pizarro, who gave possession away several times, and Aquilani moved to the centre of midfield. It seemed to work, as Vargas smashed a powerful effort over the bar, then Diakite’s header into the ground went wide on a corner after Angelo Ogbonna’s panicked clearance.
Wolski drilled an angled drive wide, but substitute Ryder Matos went incredibly close on 79 minutes when his header thumped the crossbar from eight yards at the end of a well-worked team move.
Gigi Buffon had precious little to do in this game, but he was very alert to rush outside his box and clear with his chest from Cuadrado after Barzagli had slipped over. A free kick was touched on for Vargas and again charged down.