Andrea Pirlo produced a piece of free-kick magic to keep Juventus on track for a third consecutive scudetto thanks to a late 1-0 win away to Genoa.
Juventus looked to be heading for only their fourth draw of the season on Sunday, having seen goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon save Emanuele Calaio’s 72nd minute penalty and two other great earlier chances for the hosts.
However Antonio Conte’s men were handed a lifeline when Fabio Quagliarella won a questionable free kick on the edge of the area, and Pirlo stepped up to send a curling drive over the wall and past the outstretched hands of Mattia Perin.
Genoa looked determined to give no quarter to the Serie A champions, but in the process earned four yellow cards in the first half alone.
Sebastian De Maio was cautioned after impeding Stephan Lichtsteiner’s run and after the first of two Pablo Daniel Osvaldo goals was ruled out for offside, Stefano Sturaro’s challenge on Giorgio Chiellini earned the midfielder a booking.
Minutes later, Giuseppe Sculli then Alberto Gilardino both saw yellow, the latter for an attempted elbow on Leonardo Bonucci, although Juve were still creating chances.
After Osvaldo fired Pirlo’s delivery towards the back post high and wide, the former Southampton striker saw a second goal chalked off when he chipped Paul Pogba’s flick over Mattia Perin and into the Genoa net.
Moments earlier Genoa had seen claims for a penalty waved away after Andrea Bertolucci sent a header wide under pressure by Lichsteiner.
Genoa continued to harry and were unfortunate when Bertolacci controlled well on the edge of the area only to send his shot straight at the advancing Buffon.
Juve had claims for a penalty waved away on 68 minutes when Fernando Llorente’s cross hit the arm of Luca Antonelli.
Genoa won a penalty moments later due to a more convincing handball from Arturo Vidal, however Buffon was equal to Calaio’s tame spot-kick.
Conte replaced Osvaldo with Quagliarella and after the striker won a crucial free kick in Pirlo territory when he somehow tumbled under slight pressure on the edge of the area.