Juventus thanked their veterans for a 1-0 win in Genoa, as Gigi Buffon saved a penalty and Andrea Pirlo scored a late free kick.
The Bianconeri were 14 points clear at the top of the table, but missed Carlos Tevez, Claudio Marchisio, Sebastian Giovinco, Mirko Vucinic and Simone Pepe. Federico Peluso also missed out with flu symptoms and Andrea Barzagli suffered a calf injury in the warm-up, so Giorgio Chiellini had to play. There were few options to rest players ahead of Thursday’s Europa League trip to Fiorentina. Alessandro Gamberini, Luca Antonini, Sime Vrsaljko, Juraj Kucka and the suspended Isaac Cofie were unavailable for Genoa, but Marco Motta played against the side he left in January.
Tonight Gigi Buffon matched legend Dino Zoff on 476 appearances in a Bianconeri jersey in all competition. He did it at Marassi against Genoa, the club he has always admitted to supporting.
Giuseppe Sculli blasted over from a promising position and Mattia Perin punched a dangerous Andrea Pirlo free kick off the head of Paul Pogba.
Daniel Osvaldo had the ball in the back of the net on 20 minutes, but was ruled offside when Fernando Llorente got the touch to send him clear.
The crowd vented its frustration when Stefano Sturaro was booked for simulation, though he certainly made contact with Chiellini, even if it wasn’t a foul.
Llorente’s header from a Pirlo free kick was deflected past the near post, but Andrea Bertolacci wasted a promising counter-attack by blasting over the bar.
The atmosphere was increasingly fiery, as there were four Genoa bookings in the first 28 minutes. Osvaldo horribly ballooned the volley over from a Pirlo ball over the top.
Bertolacci had penalty appeals for a coming together with Stephan Lichtsteiner, who might’ve shoved him as he was going for the diving header on Motta’s cross.
Moments later Juventus had reason to complain, as Osvaldo had the ball in the net and it was again ruled offside. This time replays showed he was level when Paul Pogba slipped the slide-rule pass through.
Pogba’s angled drive skimmed the base of the far post, then Nicolas Burdisso made his bulk count to stop Llorente reaching a Pirlo assist.
Genoa had a great double chance after the restart, as Bertolacci skipped past Chiellini through the middle and blasted straight at Buffon, then Motta drilled the follow-up wide.
Llorente had penalty appeals, but he hit the ball on to Antonelli’s hand from point-blank range. Moments later the referee did point to the spot, but it was at the other end of the field for a Vidal handling offence. The Chilean had his arm out wide and jumped towards the ball, so the official considered it to be voluntary.
Emanuele Calaiò stepped up, but his penalty was fairly central and Buffon got the right side to parry. That was the third spot-kick Genoa have failed to convert this season.
Pogba nodded over from a Pirlo free kick, but it was when the midfield maestro went for goal himself that the breakthrough arrived. Pirlo curled one of his trademark set pieces over the wall and into the near top corner, where Mattia Perin simply could not reach.
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Saved penalty: Calaiò 72 (G)