Paul Pogba’s strike proved enough to give Juventus a 1-0 win over Bologna, coming a step closer to the Scudetto.
The Bianconeri could almost touch the Scudetto and with it an all-time record of Serie A points, but welcomed a Bologna side desperate to avoid the drop. Davide Ballardini’s men were fourth from bottom going into the Easter weekend, three points clear of the relegation zone after scraping two consecutive stalemates. Leonardo Bonucci and Stephan Lichtsteiner sat out bans, while Andrea Barzagli returned after a month out. The Rossoblu had already caused upsets against Inter and Napoli this season, but missed Panagiotis Kone, Rene Krhin, Jose Crespo and Francesco Della Rocca.
Bonucci took advantage of his suspension to stand in the Curva along with the hardline Juve ultras.
After four minutes Gianluca Curci was alert to parry a Paul Pogba shot with his feet at the near post. The Frenchman went close again with a free header over from six yards on Andrea Pirlo’s corner.
Pirlo curled a free kick over the wall and into Curci’s arms, then another effort straight into the defensive wall.
Giorgio Chiellini surged forward and rolled a dangerous ball into the box, but Claudio Marchisio only got a touch and Curci was able to smother.
Fernando Llorente couldn’t quite turn in the box to get his shot away, as he and Antonsson tugged each other’s shirts.
Giovinco flashed a dangerous ball across the face of goal after bursting past two defenders, but Llorente just failed to get the final touch.
Jonathan Cristaldo had an audacious attempt from distance, curling over the far top corner. Kwadwo Asamoah had a similar opportunity to Giovinco with another ball going all the way across with nobody to tap in.
Juve were far more aggressive after the restart and pegged Bologna back into their own half, but Curci was alert to block at the feet of Mauricio Isla on a Giovinco assist.
The deadlock was finally broken past the hour mark. Isla rolled a ball to the centre for Pogba, who controlled and smacked a fierce finish from outside the box that flew under Curci’s arm and into the far bottom corner.
Moments later Curci got his fingertips to turn an Isla snapshot over the bar, but Marchisio had to bravely throw himself in the path of a Christodoulopoulos strike and got a bruised shin for his trouble.
Pogba drilled wide from an improbable range and Bologna threatened on the counter with Gigi Buffon getting behind a sudden Christodoulopoulos snapshot.
Pogba was having a fine game and tested Curci again in the final minutes with the goalkeeper just about getting it under control. Giovinco was utterly exhausted by the end and hobbled off the field with help from physios.
To their credit, Bologna poured forward throughout five minutes of stoppages and saw a Christodoulopoulos shot charged down in the box after a free kick. Juventus came away with three points, but it was the classic ground out result.