The visitors hung on until the dying minutes, but in the end, they couldn't keep out substitute Emanuele Giaccherini's goal in extra time. Juventus took all three points to go nine points clear at the top of the Serie A table.
It's been alleged that one channel switched from showing Juventus vs. Catania to a repeat of Saturday's match between Genoa and AC Milan. If this happened, the provider can't be blamed for deciding to hit play on the recorded game. Catania were able to frustrate the Old Lady, reducing them to long balls and not-so-near misses. The elefanti, meanwhile, were out of ideas. Without Gonzalo Bergessio and Pablo Barrientos up front, Alejandro Gómez was unable to make any sort of impact.
But in the end, it didn't matter that the play was poor. The fact that Mirko Vucinic hit the post rather than smashing it into the back of the net was forgotten. Even the fact that substitute Emanuele Giaccherini hit the ground inside the area and was rewarded with a yellow card rather than a penalty was forgiven. Because it was Giaccherini that got the goal, securing all three points in injury time. Paul Pogba sent in the cross and Mariano Andujar, magnificent as usual, came out to push it away. But the ball fell to Giaccherini, who managed to thread it through the rattled Catania defense, where it evaded the goalkeeper and earned a dramatic three points.
It was one of those matches in which play just didn't matter. Sure, Andrea Pirlo showed his imperfections. Catania were admirable in defense. The viewing public fell asleep. But what will be remembered is the fact that in the end, Juventus got the win. And with Napoli falling to Chievo at the same time, allowing the bianconeri to go nine points clear at the top, those three points are what matter -- not what came before the goal.
Juventus: Gianluigi Buffon; Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini; Stephan Lichtsteiner, Paul Pogba, Andrea Pirlo, Claudio Marchisio, Kwadwo Asamoah (Emanuele Giaccherini 75); Sebastian Giovinco (Alessandro Matri 66), Mirko Vucinic (Fabio Quagliarella 77)
Catania: Mariano Andújar; Pablo Álvarez, Nicolás Spolli (Alexis Rolín 86), Giuseppe Bellusci; Mariano Izco, Marco Biagianti (Amidu Salifu 81), Francesco Lodi, Sergio Almirón, Giovanni Marchese; Lucas Castro, Alejandro Gómez (Edgar Cani 83)
Goals: Giaccherini '90
Oh Pitu...it's time to stop chilling in the campo and get back to the real field.