Juventus fought back from a shock early Catania goal to win 3-1 thanks to Andrea Pirlo’s first strike for the club, but ex-Juve defender Marco Motta saw red.
The Bianconeri were hoping to end their run of two consecutive stalemates, even though they were still unbeaten this season in all competition. Arturo Vidal sat out a ban and they adopted a 3-5-2 system with Fabio Quagliarella, Marco Borriello and Paolo De Ceglie getting rare starts. Catania were fresh from thumping Genoa 4-0 and could count on former Juve men Sergio Almiron, Marco Motta and Nicola Legrottaglie. Andrea Campagnolo, David Suazo, Alessandro Potenza and Ciro Capuano missed out.
Gigi Buffon had to beat away an Almiron drive in the opening three minutes as it was heading towards the near top corner. The ball remained in play and Catania took the lead, as Pablo Barrientos curled an angled drive in off the far post from the edge of the box.
An audacious Borriello overhead kick was deflected for a corner, then the ex-Roma striker’s header bounced off Kosicky’s chest.
Another Borriello glancing header from a corner was acrobatically hooked away by Mariano Izco practically off the line.
Juve’s pressure paid off with the first Andrea Pirlo goal in a Bianconeri jersey. He curled one of his trademark free kicks in from just outside the area, going round the defensive wall into the near bottom corner with Kosicky rooted to the spot.
Quagliarella unleashed a screamer that beat Kosicky only to smack against the crossbar on the half-hour mark.
Just 120 seconds later, it was Catania’s turn to rattle the woodwork, as Gonzalo Bergessio went past Leonardo Bonucci down the right flank and his rising shot struck the underside of the bar to bounce back out, possibly with the aid of Buffon’s fingertips.
Kosicky parried a Pirlo snapshot and did enough to force Quagliarella on to the side-netting from a tight angle.
An Izco strike from distance stung Buffon’s palms, while Pirlo’s cross was knocked down for Quagliarella to turn on to the side-netting.
After the restart a long-range Pirlo free kick clipped the top of the crossbar. Both Quagliarella and Borriello had efforts charged down in quick succession by defensive bodies, while Simone Padoin horribly scuffed a volley from the D.
Catania went down to 10 men when Motta, who arrived on loan from Juventus in January, went through the back of De Ceglie for a second yellow card.
However, moments later Almiron nearly restored the Sicilians’ lead when pounced on a Bonucci error and Buffon had to beat away the strike with his legs.
Mirko Vucinic almost scored with his first touch, as he was allowed a volley at the back post from Pirlo’s free kick, but sent it wide from six yards. Claudio Marchisio had acres of space, but he too couldn’t make the most of a Pirlo assist.
Juventus did finally take the lead when a Pirlo free kick was whipped in and Kosicky flapped at it, allowing Giorgio Chiellini a diving header into the open goal.
Vucinic earned a yellow card for an obvious dive in the box and fired another chance straight into the arms of the goalkeeper.
It was another mistake by the Catania shot-stopper, as Kosicky’s poor clearance allowed Quagliarella to pounce, his shot looping up off the player’s hand to soar into an empty net. Bizarrely, during the celebrations Marco Storari ran from the touchline and jumped on top of the group of Juve players, causing a cut to Quagliarella’s head and Simone Pepe’s nose!
Sent off: Motta 65 (C)