Serie A Week 22 - 27 Jan 2018 (19.45 UK)
Chievo 0 - 2 Juventus
Khedira 67 (J), Higuain 88 (J)
Stadio Marc’Antonio Bentegodi

Juventus eventually earned a 2-0 victory after Chievo went down to nine men for two utterly bizarre red cards for Samuel Bastien and Fabrizio Cacciatore.

The Bianconeri missed Juan Cuadrado, Paulo Dybala, Claudio Marchisio and Benedikt Howedes, while Gigi Buffon was on the bench for the first time in several weeks following a calf injury. The captain turns 40 tomorrow and found some birthday cards drawn by local children left on the bench before kick-off. Chievo had two points from the last seven games, so fielded a very defensive line-up, without injured Roberto Inglese or Lucas Castro.

Juve are unbeaten against Chievo since a 1-0 at the Bentegodi in August 2009, followed by 11 wins and five draws, home and away.

Dario Dainelli charged down an early Gonzalo Higuain effort and Fabrizio Cacciatore’s deflection on a Sami Khedira cross did just enough to put off Mario Mandzukic.

Miralem Pjanic’s strike from distance was too central and Jaroszynski’s smart positioning stopped Higuain getting a shot away after turning one marker.

Chievo were reduced to 10 men thanks to two moments of sheer stupidity from Samuel Bastien. He was booked for jumping with elbow raised on Kwadwo Asamoah, then two minutes later blatantly reached over to drag the same player back by the collar right in front of the referee. The second yellow card was simply inevitable.

Stefano Sorrentino was alert to smother a Sami Khedira scorcher and when Mandzukic swung his boot at a Douglas Costa cross, but Chievo also lost Nenad Tomovic to injury.

Federico Bernardeschi came off the bench and was caught in possession by Jaroszynski for a cross that saw Cacciatore’s header blocked by Wojciech Szczesny.

However, Cacciatore fell awkwardly during that move under pressure from Asamoah and protested to the referee when play wasn’t stopped, allowing a Juve counter. The referee told Cacciatore to leave the field and the full-back did so only after complaining and making a handcuffs gesture in the style of Jose Mourinho. This infuriated the official, who sent him off with a straight red card.

Chievo were down to nine men and eventually capitulated, as Mandzukic got out the way of Bernardeschi’s pull-back to allow on-rushing Khedira to drill home from 12 yards.

Yet the Flying Donkeys almost equalised when Birsa’s inspired long ball found Ivan Radovanovic, but Szczesny came tearing out to intercept the attempted lob.

Juventus finally added a second late on, as Higuain peeled away from defenders to nod in a Douglas Costa cross at the back post, ending his goal drought.

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Chievo: Sorrentino; Cacciatore, Dainelli, Tomovic (Gamberini 52), Bani; Bastien, Radovanovic, Hetemaj, Jaroszynski; Birsa (Meggiorini 78); Pucciarelli (Depaoli 46)
Juventus: Szczesny; De Sciglio, Barzagli, Benatia, Asamoah (Lichtsteiner 71); Khedira, Pjanic, Sturaro (Bernardeschi 52); Douglas Costa, Higuain (Bentancur 89), Mandzukic
Ref: Maresca

Sent off: Bastien 37 (C), Cacciatore 61 (C)