Fernando Llorente scored in stoppages for Juventus to beat Udinese 1-0 and extend their lead at the top to three points.
The kick-off was brought forward so 12,200 children could pack the Juventus Stadium, replacing the ultras in the Curva Nord and Sud who are banned for anti-Neapolitan chants. The Bianconeri went top of the table last week and were eager to stay there, though Kwadwo Asamoah was suspended with Mauricio Isla, Sebastian Giovinco and Simone Pepe injured. Andrea Barzagli returned to the side. Udinese were fresh from beating Fiorentina 1-0, though Luis Muriel and Mathias Ranegie missed out.
Zeljko Brkic flew for a stunning one-handed save to stop the Carlos Tevez shot on the bounce going under the bar. The goalkeeper also rushed off his line to smother at Claudio Marchisio’s feet, but Andrea Pirlo went off after a knock to the knee.
Tevez had an attempt deflected wide after good work from Fernando Llorente, but there was a huge scare for Juve on 29 minutes. Antonio Di Natale dispossessed Leonardo Bonucci and lobbed Gigi Buffon, who got a fingertip to the ball in order to allow Barzagli to clear.
Tevez flashed an angled drive across the face of goal, but the Bianconeri struggled to break down Udinese.
After the restart the visitors threatened again, as Buffon beat away a powerful Bruno Fernandes cross and an extraordinary reaction save on Di Natale’s follow-up from point-blank range.
Stephan Lichtsteiner made his comeback after two months, replacing Simone Padoin. Buffon was again called into a fine save to turn Andrea Lazzari’s strike out from under the bar after a wonderful touch from Di Natale.
The Paolo De Ceglie cross-shot landed on the roof of the net and Brkic fumbled an easy catch, but was grateful to scramble it back under control. Tevez aimed an angled drive straight at the goalkeeper and Antonio Conte threw on Fabio Quagliarella. However, the striker was booked within 20 seconds for a handling offence in midfield.
Lazzari and Tevez tested the goalkeepers from distance, while Apache curled a free kick over the bar. Brkic flew to palm away a Quagliarella curler and in the final minute Allan needed a goalline clearance to deny Llorente’s header from a corner.
It was a siege on Brkic’s goal towards the end and Lichtsteiner drilled wide. In stoppages, the breakthrough finally arrived, as a Lichtsteiner shot was going wide until Llorente got the final flick with his head from seven yards.