Juventus thanked Claudio Marchisio’s sixth goal of the season, as they strained to break down Cesena and had a hotly contested penalty.
The Bianconeri had to reshuffle with Andrea Pirlo’s suspension ruling him out for the first time this season. Claudio Marchisio returned from his ban and Michele Pazienza was given his first start in a Juve jersey. Cesena had revived their fortunes recently with two consecutive victories, but had Luca Ceccarelli and Nicola Ravaglia suspended, while Gianluca Comotto, Jorge Martinez and Giuseppe Colucci were sidelined. Adrian Mutu returned to face his former club, albeit in their new stadium.
Alessandro Matri had a couple of chances in the opening six minutes, but lost his footing. Stephan Lichtsteiner was tripped right on the edge of the box by Rodriguez and Juve wanted a red card, but the referee instead awarded a corner.
Cesena were solid at the back and ran very few risks, as Marchisio’s deflected shot from distance was comfortably smothered by Francesco Antonioli.
Matri was not having a good day and horribly scuffed his volley from Marchisio’s cross around the penalty spot, while Pepe’s right-foot effort hit the side-netting.
Mirko Vucinic burst down the left and smacked his shot towards the near post, forcing veteran goalkeeper Antonioli to parry with his legs. From that corner, Leonardo Bonucci steered a looping header to the same spot where Vucinic couldn’t quite reach. Perhaps Bonucci should’ve gone for goal, as he was unmarked.
Juventus had a great double chance after the restart. First Antonioli got down to beat away a Vucinic screamer from distance, then got back on his feet straight away to block Pepe’s volleyed follow-up. Pepe nodded inches wide from a Giorgio Chiellini cross, but Antonio Conte introduced Fabio Quagliarella and Alessandro Del Piero.
It was a siege on Cesena’s area, but Juve struggled to find a way through, as Quagliarella and Pazienza drilled over.
Del Piero was very unlucky, as he accidentally got a cut to the face from Rossi’s boot in midfield. The veteran was bleeding heavily and stretchered off in clear agony, so his match lasted just eight minutes. It was not a good way to mark his 500th appearance in League games for Juventus, between Serie A and B.
Cesena had their first real shot on goal at the 65th minute with Gigi Buffon beating away a Martinho counter-attack. Pepe hit a free kick straight into the wall, but it took their top scorer Marchisio to finally break the deadlock.
Marchisio scored his sixth goal of the season, exchanging passes with Arturo Vidal just inside the area to smash a left-foot strike in at the base of the near post. Coach Conte’s celebrations were particularly excitable, leaping up to slam his hands on the Plexiglas.
It got worse for Cesena, as Antonioli gave away a penalty and was sent off for clattering into Emanuele Giaccherini as both went for a Stephan Lichtsteiner cross. However, replays suggest Giaccherini would not have really reached the ball and the goalkeeper got to it before the Juventus man.
Cesena had already completed their substitutions, so Rodriguez pulled on the shirt and gloves. His first move was to pick Vidal’s penalty out of the back of the net.
Eder should’ve got one back for the visitors, but scuffed his finish wide in acres of space down the middle. Rodriguez did get to act as goalkeeper with a good save on Quagliarella from close range.
Sent off: Antonioli 81 (C)