|Chilean midfielder Arturo Vidal celebrates after scoring Juventus’ second goal [EPA]|
Juventus went back to the top of Serie A after a 2-0 victory over Cesena on Sunday in a match where the visitors had their goalkeeper controversially sent off.
Claudio Marchisio and Arturo Vidal, from the penalty spot, scored the goals that restored the Old Lady of Turin’s two-point lead over AC Milan and Udinese.
But the match was not without incident and controversy, not least the dismissal of Cesena goalkeeper Francesco Antonioli.
Juve struggled for more than 70 minutes against dogged opponents, but coach Antonio Conte felt their eventual success demonstrated a growing maturity.
“When you try everything to score a goal you risk getting annoyed and worried,” said Conte.
“I told them at the end of the first half not to get annoyed and to stretch the game. I saw the statistics, we had 70 percent of possession and 21 shots, we did well at pushing them back.
“This is the proof that this team is improving day by day.”
Bologna 1-0 Siena
Juve dominated possession in the first half but managed only two shots on target, the best effort being from an angle by Mirko Vucinic that Antonioli saved comfortably.
Vucinic had another effort after the break that Antonioli parried, with Simone Pepe knocking the follow-up straight into the goalkeeper’s hands.
Pepe then headed a great chance wide after meeting a cross from the left by Giorgio Chiellini.
Juve lost substitute and club captain Alessandro Del Piero after a clash with Marco Rossi that left him bloodied and carried off on a stretcher.
The hosts got the breakthrough their persistence, if not their effectiveness, deserved 17 minutes from time.
Marchisio played a one-two with Vidal and then turned and shot home smartly from the edge of the box.
Any chance of a Cesena comeback was wiped out with the dismissal of Antonioli in unusual circumstances.
He rushed from his line to punch the ball clear, which hit the incoming Emanuele Giacherini before rebounding out of play.
However, the two players collided in the action and to Cesena’s astonishment, the referee pointed to the spot and sent off Antonioli.
Cesena had already made all their substitutions so defender Giullermo Rodriguez had to go in goal and his first job was to pick Vidal’s penalty out of the net.
Roma finished with eight men as they crashed to a 3-0 humiliation at Fiorentina, who began the game by paying tribute to former player Socrates, who died earlier on Sunday.
Juan was harshly sent off inside the first quarter of the match as he gave away a penalty by bringing down Stevan Jovetic, who picked himself up to score from the spot.
Alessandro Gamberini then headed home a corner on the stroke of half-time.
Fernando Gago was sent off for a second booking and then Bojan Krkic was dismissed late on for blocking the ball on the line with his hands.
“The action on the first goal with that penalty totally conditioned the match. My players did what they could in such circumstances, I have no criticism to make”
Roma coach Luis Enrique
Santiago Silva completed Roma’s misery by scoring Fiorentina’s second penalty of the game.
Under pressure Roma coach Luis Enrique said he felt the first penalty had hamstrung his side.
“I feel bad like every Roma player and like any coach would do in such a situation,” he said.
“The action on the first goal with that penalty totally conditioned the match. My players did what they could in such circumstances, I have no criticism to make.”
On Friday Milan beat Genoa 2-0 while Udinese won 1-0 at Inter Milan on Saturday.
Inter are now down in 16th following that defeat.