Juventus vs. Pescara, Final Score 2-1: Juve finally sink defiant Delfini

Valerio Pennicino

Juventus overcame Pescara at the Juventus Stadium despite a spirited display from Delfini 'keeper Ivan Pelizzoli.

With a Champions League visit of Bayern Munich in midweek, Antonio Conte took the opportunity to rest some key players, Giorgio Chiellini and Andrea Barzagli were suspended anyway as they made up part of eight changes to the Juve side that downed Inter in the Derby d'Italia last week. Marco Storari, Stephan Lichtsteiner, Federico Peluso, Luca Marrone, Emanuele Giaccherini, Paul Pogba, Mirko Vucinic and Sebastian Giovinco came in for Gianluigi Buffon, Simone Padoin, Chiellini, Barzagli, Andrea Pirlo, Claudio Marchisio, Alessandro Matri and Fabio Quagliarella.

Similarly, Bruno Nobili made seven changes to the Pescara side that succumbed 3-0 to Parma in the last round of fixtures with Damiano Zanon, Marco Capuano, Francesco Modesto, Juan Quintero, Togni, Giuseppe Rizzo and Ferdinando Sforzini coming in for Luciano Zauri, Antonio Bocchetti, Nicolas Bianchi Arce, Gaetano D'Agostino, Birkir Bjarnason, Emmanuel Cascione and Elvis Abbruscato.

The match was always going to follow a pattern of Juventus dominating possession and creating the chances whilst Pescara hold on and attempt to counter and so it proved. The first half chance came when Paul Pogba cannoned way over after 8 minutes despite Mirko Vucinic being well placed in the box.

Ivan Pelizzoli had his hands warmed for the first time when Stephan Lichtsteiner crossed from the hand side for the arriving Emanuele Giaccherini, his volley well saved by the sprawling Pescara 'keeper.

Pelizzoli was called into action again when Sebastian Giovinco stumbled into the box but found himself one-on-one with the keeper, the former Lokomotiv Moscow man again equal to what Juventus had to throw at him.

The match was quickly becoming a pitched battle between the entire Juventus frontline and Pelizzoli with the Delfini goalkeeper seemingly the only player in his team to stand up to the Bianconeri onslaught, Mirko Vucinic taking advantage of a lucky bounce of the Pescara defence to find himself alone with the goalkeeper, Pelizzoli again scrambling out to cut the Montenegrin off.

Vucinic then turned provider, crossing for Arturo Vidal who found himself completely unmarked inside the six-yard box however Pelizzoli was once again on hand to make a great instinctive save from the Chilean's header.

Some concern for Juve ahead of their title run-in was caused by an injury to Sebastian Giovinco, having to be stretchered off in visible pain after colliding with Marco Capuano. His replacement was Fabio Quagliarella and he was right amongst the action, his 18-yard drive coming back off the post after Pelizzoli again got the faintest of touches.

Pelizzoli was called into action one final time when Emanuele Giaccherini's 20-yard effort looked destined for the corner, however the 'keeper got across well once again to deny him and ensure that Pescara went in for half time level.

Mirko Vucinic had the best opportunity yet to put Juventus ahead after the break, as Kwadwo Asamoah's left-wing cross was parried straight into his path by Pelizzoli. The Juve striker couldn't however get a clean contact and the ball bobbled harmlessly wide.

Fabio Quagliarella's impressive volley was saved once again by the imperious Pelizzoli as Juve huffed and puffed in search of an advantage, Stephan Lichtsteiner cutting in from the right and firing a left-footed shot from 25 yards, the Pescara 'keeper again making the save.

Although Juventus were still very much on top in the second half, they were simply unable to create quite the number of clear-cut chances as in the first half, with Pescara's defence beginning to actually perform their function and protect their beleaguered goalkeeper.

With Juve struggling, Pescara then gave them the leg-up they needed, Giuseppe Rizzo hauling Artuto Vidal down in the area, giving a penalty to Juve and getting himself sent off in the process. Mirko Vucinic made no mistake from the spot to give the Bianconeri the lead they had coveted for so long.

Vucinic had the ball in the net for a second time minutes later, however he was flagged correctly offside however he made it 2-0 soon after, turning in the box and hitting a curling effort around Pelizzoli.

With a two-goal lead and a man advantage, Juve should've been comfortable able to see it out however the seeds of doubt were sown when Pescara substitute Emmanuel Cascione won the ball from Alessandro Matri before crashing an unstoppable shot from 30 yards past Marco Storari.

Giuseppe Sculli forced a save out of Storari late on but Juventus were able to hold on to the result and go 12 clear at the top of Serie A with Napoli not playing until Sunday evening.

Juventus: Storari; Bonucci (Isla 81), Marrone, Peluso; Lichtsteiner, Vidal, Pogba, Giaccherini, Asamoah; Vucinic (Matri 79), Giovinco (Quagliarella 32)

Pescara: Pelizzoli; Zanon, Kroldrup (Bianchi Arce 70), Capuano, Modesto; Rizzo, Togni; Caprari (Cascione 66), Quintero (Bjarnason 58), Sculli; Sforzini

Goals: Vucinic pen 73, 78 (J), Cascione 83 (P)

Sent off: Rizzo 72 (P)

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