Serie A Week 21 - 22 Jan 2018 (19.45 UK)
Juventus 1 - 0 Genoa
Douglas Costa 16 (J)
Juventus Stadium

Juventus were unconvincing, but Douglas Costa’s goal secured a 1-0 win over a Genoa side who didn’t have a single shot on target.

The Brazilian winger opened the scoring early in the first half, and despite looking rusty at times the Old Lady held on to keep pace in the Scudetto race.

The Bianconeri had started the evening four points behind Napoli, after the Partenopei beat Atalanta yesterday.

Gianluigi Buffon was still out injured, so Wojciech Szczesny continued in goal, with Douglas Costa preferred to Federico Bernardeschi in attack.

Juventus started brightly, and Mattia Perin was called into action after just seven minutes.

Gonzalo Higuain was fouled on the edge of the box, very much within Miralem Panic range.

The Bosnian curled the free-kick over the wall, but Perin got across to beat the ball away.

The hosts were dominating possession, and they opened the scoring with 16 minutes on the clock.

Douglas Costa cut inside and managed to break through a challenge and slip the ball to Mario Mandzukic.

The Croatian looked up and played a lovely reverse pass back to Costa, who simply side-footed the ball past Perin to put the champions ahead.

The goalkeeper had gone 415 minutes without conceding a goal before that striker, and he had to get down sharply to deny Pjanic on the half-volley.

Genoa had struggled to break into the Juve half, but Diego Laxalt smashed one over from the edge of the box after it was chested down to him by Adel Taarabt.

Pjanic released Khedira down the right, and the German smashed the ball across to the other flank for Mandzukic, but his shot was straight at Perin after great control to bring it down.

Davide Ballardini responded to a listless first half showing by taking off Luca Rigoni, with Andrey Galabinov replacing him.

The Bulgarian almost made an immediate impact, surging past Giorgio Chiellini down the right only to see Lichtsteiner slide in to prevent his cross from reaching a Genoa teammate.

Mandzukic claimed for a penalty after a slight nudge in the back from Aleandro Rosi, but his appeals were waved away.

Costa was looking dangerous every time he got the ball, and he played in Lichtsteiner with a lovely pass.

The Swiss Express cut it back for what looked like a Higuain tap-in, but Izzo denied the Juventus number 9 with a fantastic saving challenge.

Panic again tried his luck with a curling effort from the edge of the box but it went wide, much to the chagrin of Giorgio Chiellini, who had surged forward to make an overlapping run.

Alex Sandro was forced off with what looked like a muscular injury, with Kwadwo Asamoah taking his place at left-back.

Genoa were growing in confidence, and Chiellini had to scramble the ball clear after it fell awkwardly in the box.

The Grifone didn’t manage a single shot on target across the 90 minutes, however, and in the end it was a comfortable if not convincing win for Juventus.

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Juventus: Szczesny; Lichtsteiner (Barzagli, 83), Benatia, Chiellini, Alex Sandro (Asamoah, 76); Khedira (Sturaro, 70), Pjanic, Matuidi; Douglas Costa, Higuain, Mandzukic
Genoa: Perin; Rossettini, Spolli, Izzo; Rosi, Rigoni (Galabinov, 46), Bertolacci, Omeonga, Laxalt; Taarabt (Lazovic, 68), Pandev (Lapadula, 78)
Ref: Di Bello