Andrea Pirlo missed a second consecutive penalty, but Marco Borriello’s first goal in a Juventus jersey beat relegated Cesena to keep their three-point advantage. The Cavallucci Marini are mathematically heading back into Serie B next season.
It was top against bottom, as Juve were three points clear and on their way towards the Scudetto. The Sea Horses were practically relegated weeks ago and 14 points adrift of safety, but had notched up five consecutive stalemates.
Fabio Quagliarella and Steve von Bergen sat out bans, while injuries hit ex-Juve men Vincenzo Iaquinta, Adrian Mutu and Jorge Martinez. Simone Pepe, Daniel Pudil, Alex Calderoni and Raphael Martinho were also sidelined.
Just eight minutes into the game, the referee pointed to the spot for a handling offence, as Vangelis Moras seemed to prod the ball away from Mirko Vucinic, though replays do not entirely clarify whether it was inside the box. Andrea Pirlo stepped up and just three days after seeing a penalty saved against Roma, he hit the base of the near post with Francesco Antonioli perhaps getting a fingertip to it.
Alessandro Matri’s first touch let him down, while Claudio Marchisio ran on to a Pirlo pass only to fire over. Vucinic had a great chance on 27 minutes, but turned his free header over from five yards on a corner. It was a terrible miss from the unmarked Montenegrin.
Moras stopped a dangerous Marchisio counter-attack with a well-timed tackle, but Cesena lost captain Giuseppe Colucci to injury.
Juventus threatened on 38 minutes, as Pirlo whipped in a free kick to the back post, where Paolo De Ceglie’s header was palmed round the upright from point-blank range by 43-year-old Antonioli. Vucinic blasted another chance off target from Pirlo’s assist.
Juve thought they had taken the lead straight after the restart Matri’s angled drive that squirmed between Antonioli’s legs, but the goalkeeper managed to scramble back to flap it off the line before the ball could cross over completely.
Moments later Matri put the ball in the net, but was flagged offside. Marchisio blasted over from a set play and Matri’s header from a Pirlo cross was off target.
On 68 minutes De Ceglie again went close with his header whistling just wide from a corner. Ex-Cesena star Emanuele Giaccherini came on for Martin Caceres, but Antonio Conte went for it by throwing on Alessandro Del Piero and Marco Borriello too.
Del Piero earned a free kick outside the area and his sensational curling effort was going in before Antonioli performed a desperate save.
The move continued and moments later Vucinic knocked down a cross for Borriello’s half- volley from 14 yards into the far bottom corner. It was his first goal in a Juventus jersey.
Missed penalty: Pirlo 9 (J)