Juventus moved ever closer to sealing the Serie A title for a third season running by beating relegation-threatened Bologna 1-0 on Saturday, courtesy of a second-half strike from Paul Pogba. The bianconeri dominated possession and territory throughout the entire game, though were made to work before netting the game's only goal just past the hour.
Juve huffed and puffed throughout the first half but couldn't break their stubborn opponents down. The bianconeri's best chance came within the first five minutes, when Fernando Llorente laid off Pogba, though from the edge of the area the Frenchman fired straight at goalkeeper Gianluca Curci.
Curci was called into action on a crucial save again just short of the half-hour, when the ball bounced goalwards off Claudio Marchisio. Sebastian Giovinco also went close to giving the bianconeri the lead by flashing a ball across the box towards a lurking Llorente, though the Spaniard couldn't get a decisive touch and the ball ran away from danger.
Juve may have squandered a few chances, though Bologna were certainly defending with impressive discipline. Even when the hosts came out after the second half with more pace and purpose, the Emilians managed to keep them from entering the penalty area by sheer weight of numbers.
However, their lack of an out ball meant the pressure was relentless, and Juve are masters at grinding weaker opponents down. Eventually the pressure told just short of 20 minutes into the second half, when Pogba's drilled shot squirmed underneath the deep defence and into Curci's goal.
For the first time Bologna were forced to push out of their own half, but were unable to find an equaliser. Their defeat means they stay just a place outside the relegation zone -- level on points with the team directly below them -- while Juve look set to take their third consecutive Serie A title.
Juventus: Buffon; Chiellini, Ogbonna, Barzagli; Asamoah, Marchisio, Pirlo, Pogba, Isla (Padoin 81'); Llorente, Giovinco (Vidal 89').
Goals: Pogba (64').
Bologna: Curci; Cherubin, Sørensen, Antonsson (Laxalt 80'); Morleo, Christodoulopoulos, Pazienza (Acquafresca 89'), Ibson (Paponi 70'), Garics; Friberg; Cristaldo.