Cristiano Ronaldo and a chaotic Miralem Pjanic strike allowed Juventus to squeeze past Bologna 2-1, despite Danilo’s impressive chest and volley.
The Bianconeri recaptured top spot with their 2-1 win away to Inter, but Aaron Ramsey, Douglas Costa, Mattia De Sciglio, Marko Pjaca, Giorgio Chiellini and Mario Mandzukic were still absent, so Adrien Rabiot got a rare start in place of Blaise Matuidi. Bologna had two points from their last four games, missing Gary Medel, Takeshiro Tomiyasu, Mitchell Dijks and Mattia Destro, but the most important news was Sinisa Mihajlovic’s presence after his second course of chemotherapy.
Bologna had beaten Juve only once in 31 Serie A games during the 21st Century, 2-0 in Turin in February 2011, along with eight draws and 22 defeats.
A desperate defensive block stopped Rabiot finishing a Sarriball high-speed passing move, then Gonzalo Higuain tested Lukasz Skorupski with a chest-and-volley off the outside of the boot.
Juve played out from the back with Alex Sandro and Rabiot, then Cristiano Ronaldo shimmied to send Danilo to ground and drilled a ferocious low finish into the near bottom corner to give Juventus the lead. He had been presented with a special jersey before kick-off for his 700 career goals, which was now 701.
Bologna fought back, but Nicola Sansone’s overhead kick didn’t make the most of a Riccardo Orsolini floated cross. They did get the equaliser in real style, as Ibrahima Mbaye knocked down a cross for defender Danilo, whose chest and volley from a tricky angle flew across Gigi Buffon into the far top corner.
It remained surprisingly open, as Rodrigo Palacio’s cross found Orsolini in the box, the volley charged down by Matthijs de Ligt, while Miralem Pjanic’s free kick was over the bar.
After the restart, Rabiot squirmed away from two defenders and pulled across, but Ladislav Krejci got a decisive block before Federico Bernardeschi could tap in.
Ronaldo thought he’d scored a second with a bullet header from a corner, but Skorupski acrobatically fingertipped it over the bar.
Juve restored their lead with a genuinely chaotic goal. The danger seemed to be over, but Orsolini and Mbaye collided in the penalty area, then Danilo’s backpass found Pjanic to fire in undisturbed from 14 yards.
Sami Khedira stung Skorupski’s gloves after a smart Higuain ball over the top, then the goalkeeper performed a great reaction save on Pipita.
There was a double chance on 75 minutes, as first Higuain came sliding in to meet a Ronaldo low cross, denied by Skorupski, then Bernardeschi’s rebound was bravely blocked by Danilo.
Buffon flapped a dangerous Orsolini cross off the head of Mbaye on a corner, but on the counter Ronaldo’s shot was again palmed off the line by Skorupski.
Orsolini horribly wasted a potential equaliser after Palacio’s deflected attempt, but it fell on his weaker right foot and he completely mis-kicked it at the back post.
There was a panic for De Ligt in stoppages, as he misjudged a cross and it took an odd ricochet, bouncing off his elbow, which was behind his back. After a check, the VAR booth told the referee to carry on.
It still wasn’t over, as with the last kick of the game, an Orsolini set play was floated in, but Federico Santander’s header bounced off the crossbar, it came back out to Santander's bicycle kick and Buffon flew for an acrobatic fingertip save.
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