Leonardo Bonucci’s looping header and a late Moise Kean tap-in gave Juventus all three points away to Cagliari, but there was tension in Sardinia.
The Bianconeri were decimated, missing Cristiano Ronaldo, Paulo Dybala, Leonardo Spinazzola, Andrea Barzagli, Sami Khedira, Juan Cuadrado, Douglas Costa and flu-ridden Mario Mandzukic, so moved to a 3-5-2 formation. The Sardinians were seeking their fourth consecutive home win and welcomed Leonardo Pavoletti back from suspension.
Juve are now unbeaten against Cagliari in Serie A since November 2009, emerging with 14 wins and three draws.
Martin Caceres got just enough on to a Miralem Pjanic free kick at the back stick, forcing Alessio Cragno into a reaction save from six yards.
Although Cagliari are well known for their danger on set plays, it was Juve who opened the scoring from a Federico Bernardeschi corner, as Leonardo Bonucci was allowed a free header from 10 yards to steer it into the far bottom corner.
Joao Pedro came close to an equaliser, firing over from a Nicolò Barella roll across from the right. On another set play, Nicolò Barella saw his strike charged down, while Kean managed to squirm between two defenders to flick on a long Pjanic ball, calling Cragno into action.
Caceres pulled up clutching his hamstring and immediately limped off, while Charalampos Lykogiannis was perhaps fortunate not to receive a second yellow card for his unnecessary barge sending Kean into the advertising boards.
Bernardeschi thought his volley on a Blaise Matuidi cross was going in and it may well have been were it not for a deflection off teammate Kean.
Pavoletti’s header from a Luca Cigarini free kick floated over and Cragno rushed outside his own penalty area for a brave header to parry Kean’s attempted lob.
Kean did double their lead in the final minutes, as Rodrigo Bentancur sprinted down the right and rolled across perfectly for the 19-year-old to sneak up behind Darijo Srna and tap in from four yards. His celebration was a Mario Balotelli-style challenge to the crowd that had been jeering him since he was booked for simulation in the first half. This sparked an even worse reaction from the Cagliari fans, some of whom engaged in racist chants, which in turn infuriated Matuidi.
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