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19 April 2014
• Juventus Stadium, Torino
Referee: P. Giacomelli
• Attendance: 39131
P. Pogba 64'
That's all that we have time for from Juventus Stadium, as the Old Lady ran out as 1-0 winners against plucky Bologna. One goal for Pogba, one huge step towards Conte's third successive Scudetto. I've been Simon Harrison and I hope to see you again next time.
That's a record 29th Serie A victory in a campaign for Juve, who are still running away with the title despite Roma having a record-breaking season of their own. Bologna stood firm for over an hour, but offered nothing going forward, with a narrow win for Juve the justifiable result.
FULL TIME! JUVENTUS WIN 1-0! It wasn't predicted to be this close, but Bologna can take some positives from pushing the league leaders all of the way! A great strike from Pogba means that Juve need merely two more wins to lift the Serie A title.
90' + 3'
Important defensive header from Llorente! The Spain international is on hand to nod a free-kick delivery clear, before Juve experience a goalmouth scramble in their own area. Christodoulopoulos sees a shot well blocked.
90' + 2'
LAXALT! The Inter loanee manages to get his head on a back post delivery, but Buffon is able to catch the effort easily. Vucinic readies himself on the sidelined as Conte tries to run down the clock slightly.
There are five minutes of stoppage time at the end of the second half.
Vidal gets a run out for the last few minutes, with Giovinco being the man who is replaced. The diminutive striker might just have picked up a little knock to prevent him from completing the 90 minutes. Bologna have tried to push on in the last ten minutes, but Buffon remains untested.
POGBA! Padoin swings in a cross to the near post, but the young Frenchman can only turn the delivery into the chest of Curci, who gathers at the second attempt! A nervy last few minutes at Juventus Stadium.
Conte was determined to leave Tevez and Vidal out of today's match and fortunately for the Old Lady's Europa League ambitions, they've just about been able to do so. If they win tonight, it would also break a club record of 28 wins in a Serie A season.
Bologna are taking the game to Juve in the dying embers of the game, with Christodoulopoulos and Paponi looking to drive forward whenever possible. The Bianconeri fans are somewhat acting as though they've already won this game, but there's still five minutes of work to do.
Christodoulopoulos pulls off a wonderful turn to get past Pirlo, before driving into a pocket of space ahead of the Juve defence and rocketing a long-range effort towards goal! It's the visitors' first shot on target, with the Greek's attempt skidding off the turf and into the gloves of Buffon.
For the last ten minutes, Bologna are shifting to four at the back, allowing them to push Laxalt into an advanced area. They're definitely going for it now and Padoin replaces Isla, to ensure that Juve have the legs down the right to keep fighting.
POGBA! The Frenchman had Isla free to his right hand side, but opted to take a shot instead! He fails to wrap his foot around the half volley, however, and tamely drags his effort well wide of the near post.
MARCHISIO! The midfielder makes yet another good run into the box, but can't get enough on his attempted header to turn it beyond Curci! Incredible effort levels from the Italy international this evening, he's been everywhere.
Conte continues to persevere with the starting eleven, with his men looking to have done enough to send Bologna home with nothing to show for their efforts. It's been a valiant effort from the visitors, but Juve getting a goal has left them with plenty to do.
Good block by Antonsson! Asamoah is played in behind Garics excellently, before the Ghanaian cuts back an intelligent cross. The Swede intercepts the ball just ahead of Llorente, but concedes a corner in the process.
Yellow Card Erik Friberg
Slightly over a quarter of an hour remains in this game, with Juve looking to have done just enough to navigate their way past Bologna unscathed. This could be the first of three victories which the Old Lady require to win the Scudetto. Friberg is booked for an off-the-ball clash with Marchisio.
Paponi takes to the field, as Ballardini opts to take this game to Juventus, replacing a midfielder with a striker. The substitute is among the action straight away, helping Bologna to enjoy a spell of possession in Juve's half. Marchisio does well to block a strike from Christodoulopoulos, with the Greek midfielder kicking the Italian in the calf.
Isla delivers a cross from the right hand side, but it's an awful ball, causing Llorente to complain to the Chilean. Far too close to Cherubin, who manages to take all of the pace off the delivery with a block.
Giovinco races towards the edge of the box, with Garics stupidly leaving a leg extended, which the Italy international happily dives over to win a free-kick. Pirlo delivers, but Christodoulopoulos is on hand to head clear.
ISLA! HUGE CHANCE FOR JUVE! Isla makes his way into the box after a mazy dribble, before turning the ball onto his left foot. He smashes an effort at goal from eight yards, but Curci gets a touch to palm it over the crossbar!
Bologna might just be forced to press upfield and force the issue going forward a little bit more. They've been hoping for a draw throughout the opening hour, but now a defeat won't do them any good.
Assist M. Isla
Goal Paul Pogba
GOOOOOOOOAL! POGBA SCORES OUT OF NOTHING! The France international gets the ball onto his favoured right foot, before cannoning a low drive into the bottom left corner! It's sweetly struck, zipping under the diving Curci!
POGBA! The Frenchman cuts inside from the right hand side, before looping a long-range effort some way wide of the far post! He kicks at the turf in frustration, the Old Lady are really struggling to find a chink in Bologna's armour.
Both managers might start to look to their respective benches at this point in the game, with Bologna perhaps requiring fresh legs further upfield to ensure they can capitalise on opportunities to break. On Juve's bench, Vidal and Tevez lie in wait.
Beautiful skill from Pogba! He faces up Christodoulopoulos, before utilising two step-overs to generate a yard of space. He clips a cross in towards the near post, but it's slightly behind Llorente! The Spain international just hasn't had great service so far today.
Just over half an hour to go and Bologna are still right in this game. Chances have been few and far between, with Cristaldo and Friberg rarely seeing any of the ball, but the closer the clock ticks to 90 minutes, the more confident the Rossoblu will become of nicking a result.
Pirlo is once again stood over a 30-yard free-kick. He lifts his effort over the wall and it has enough power on it! The ball whistles over the crossbar, dipping just a little too late. Curci would have probably had it covered, however.
Yellow Card Mikael Antonsson
Giovinco does down once again, with the referee finally deciding to penalise Antonsson. It was over dramatic from the Italian, but the Swedish defender has been ploughing into the back of his man repeatedly tonight.
Bologna are looking fairly comfortable, but Juve are relentlessly pressing forward. The hosts can easily leave two men back, allowing for their wide central defenders to get involved going forward. Buffon finally gets his first touch of the half, but it's merely to pass the ball back to Chiellini.
Giovinco goes down yet again on the edge of the box, as Sorensen looks to be fairly rough with the little forward. Juve protest to the referee, but he isn't interested. Isla is fed in behind Bologna's defensive line, but Curci is quick off his line to narrow the angle and make the save.
OGBONNA! Pirlo whips in a near post corner delivery, but the former Torino man just can't get over the ball! Juve start how they finished the first half, completely dominant.
A positive start from Juve, who have presumably been given a dressing down by Conte. Llorente has been sent sprawling on the turf twice in the opening minute of the half, but the referee just isn't interested. Antonsson is certainly throwing his weight around.
We are back underway in the second half, with Juve needing to win here tonight if they are to wrap up the title within three games. Bologna have defended fairly well thus far, despite offering nothing offensively, leaving the Rossoblu happy to see more of the same after the break.
Be sure to rejoin us in ten minutes time, as Juventus look to continue their march towards the Scudetto, which would put the pressure on Roma to get a win against Fiorentina later tonight. Plenty is still at stake tonight, even at this late stage of the season.
Pogba went the closest with a powerful header, with Giovinco also enjoying some luck down the right hand side. Possession and chances aplenty, but the Old Lady still have plenty to do if they are to wrap up the first of three wins which would see them lift the Serie A title. As it stands, this would be a welcome point for the visitors.
HALF TIME! Juventus are unable to find the back of the net, despite being well in control during the opening 45 minutes. Plenty of chances, with Buffon essentially a spectator, but still Conte's men can't break down a stubborn Bologna side.
Pirlo floats in the free-kick, with Llorente just about able to get a touch on the delivery, but he can't turn it towards goal! Asamoah picks up the scraps on the far side, but his cross goes out of play.
GIOVINCO! The diminutive forward is released by a good pass by Llorente, but his attempted near post effort his blocked well. The Italy international is then blocked off by Cristaldo after receiving a short corner, catching an elbow in the face.
CRISTALDO! The Argentine striker receives possession 25 yards out from goal and aims for the top right corner. It has no curve whatsoever, leaving Buffon to watch the ball arrow out of play. He's having a very relaxed evening in between the posts.
Less than five minutes until the half-time break and the Juventus Stadium is getting a little bit restless. Pogba slides a pass into the penalty box for Llorente to chase, but the Spaniard had actually opened up the space for the Frenchman to drive forward himself. Curci collects under no pressure.
GIOVINCO! Asamoah floats in a good cross from the left, but Giovinco can only deflect a header high and wide. Chances are forthcoming for Juve, but they're lacking a cutting edge.
Good work from Giovinco! Sorensen is left for dead by the little forward, who races to the byeline down the right hand side, before squaring a low cross for Llorente. It zips past the far post, with his strike-partner unable to stretch and reach the intended pass.
Bologna enjoy a lengthy spell of possession, but Chiellini is eventually on hand to intercept a Pazienza through ball. They just can't penetrate this Juve defence!
Ten minutes until the break and Conte is still pacing up and down his technical area, hoping for a Juve breakthrough. Llorente is found by an excellent pass from deep, but can't find a good first touch to set himself! It rolls all the way through to Curci.
Llorente goes down in the penalty area, but the referee isn't interested! The Spain international is picked out and Antonsson is tugging on his shirt, but it isn't enough to send the former Bilbao man to ground. Good decision from the match official!
Christodoulopoulos tries his luck from yet another long-range free-kick, but drags this attempt way wide of the near post. It takes a slight deflection on its way out, winning Bologna a rare corner. Pogba does well to head the set piece clear.
Beautiful skill from Pogba! The France international showcases an elastico flick, before setting the ball back to Pirlo. The former Milan midfielder shakes off his marker, before dipping a cross towards the back post, but it evades both Sorensen and Llorente.
MARCHISIO! The box-to-box midfielder manages to sneak in at the back post, getting on the end of a Llorente flick. He manages to get the slightest of contact but Cherubin holds his ground, making it difficult for the Italian. Curci claims the scraps.
As we approach the half hour mark , Ballardini won't be too upset with what his side have managed to do. They've held firm along the length of their 18-yard box, with Juve's crosses proving ineffective.
Almost a half chance for Bologna! A misplaced pass from Asamoah finds its way to the feet of Cristaldo, who is robbed of the ball as he shapes to shoot at the edge of the penalty box. Buffon has still had nothing to do in the Juve net.
Pirlo tries his luck from a 20-yard free-kick, but crashes the ball into the top of the wall. Bologna are doing fairly well of repelling Juventus thus far, but the current league leaders are dominating the game. Curci goes down holding his head, after making slight contact with Giovinco's shin pad. A bit dramatic from the goalkeeper.
Interesting idea from Giovinco, as the Italian forward races across the front of Llorente and dummies well, but his strike partner isn't quite on the same wavelength. The striking duo have worked fairly well so far and Giovinco is now brought down on the edge of the penalty area.
Good defensive header by Cherubin! The Italian defender covers at the back post to beat Asamoah to the ball, after Giovinco delivered a looping cross from the right hand side.
PIRLO! The experienced midfielder gets his free-kick effort over the wall and on target, but Curci is able to collect easily. The Italy international has said in the past that he prefers dead ball situations from further out to allow for more ball movement, but perhaps that was a little too far.
Antonsson stands firm to shepherd a direct ball out of play, despite Llorente being firmly on the Swedish defender's case. In the next attack, Giovinco and Llorente link up yet again, but the former is brought down - allowing for a free-kick in Pirlo territory.
Bologna win a free-kick 30 yards out, with Buffon carefully constructing his wall. Christodoulopoulos is set up by the set piece, with the Greek midfielder rocketing a trademark effort towards goal, but a ruck of black and white shirts make the block.
The opening quarter of an hour has passed with little in the way of chances, with Pogba the only man to go close for either side. Buffon and Curci are having a relatively easy evening thus far, though Juve are in control.
GIOVINCO! Isla manages to scamper down the right flank, before whipping in a near post cross from the byeline! Giovinco manages a glancing header, but Antonsson does well to turn the diminutive striker's attempt away from the danger zone.
POGBA! So close for the Frenchman! The first corner of the game is whipped in excellently by Andrea Pirlo, but Pogba can't keep his header down! It whistles over the crossbar at some pace.
Pogba drives through the heart of the Bologna midfield, before playing the ball into Llorente's feet once again. The Spaniard's attempted flick to Giovinco is inaccurate, however. It seems that Juve are under instruction to try and play off the former Athletic Bilbao striker whenever possible.
Bologna manage to hold onto the ball for a short spell, moving the ball from Friberg on the left, to Ibson on the right. Despite this, the away side fail to penetrate the Bianconeri lines, with Ogbonna in the thick of it already.
Pogba tries his luck yet again, but sees his shot blocked well. Bologna are marshalling the edge of their 18-yard box already, you can certainly tell who the away side is. Giovinco is penalised for sliding in on Morleo, but protests his innocence to the referee.
POGBA! Llorente holds the ball up well at the edge of the penalty area, before releasing a lay-off to Pogba, on the right hand side. He finds himself in plenty of space, but can only fire a tame effort towards goal. Curci kicks it away comfortable, but the Old Lady are whirring into life.
Bologna are showing their intentions from the off, dropping very deep and looking to frustrate, relying on Cristaldo and Ibson to break and take the game to Juve whenever possible. There is certainly a feeling that the Rossoblu would be keen to take a point.
Juventus start in control, moving the ball around well and not being afraid to play backwards and retain possession. Pirlo tries an early ball forward to Llorente, but Curci is quick off his line to claim.
We are underway in the first half! Despite the big points gap at the top between Juve and Roma, expectations are still high in a packed Juventus Stadium. Three wins will see them become champions once again, with that work starting tonight. Though Vidal and Tevez start on the bench, the home side have no excuses not to make life hard for Bologna tonight.
Less than 15 minutes until kick-off, so be sure to stick around to see if Juventus can make it five consecutive wins this evening. Currently eight points clear of Roma, there is much more pressure on Bologna to perform, as the Rossoblu are hovering precariously above the relegation zone. A fall to Serie B would certainly be catastrophic for the away side.
Bologna substitutes: Bianchi, Moscardelli, Acquafresca, Laxalt, Perez, Malagoli, Mantovani, Stojanovic, Cech, Paponi.
Bologna starting line-up: Curci; Antonsson, Sorensen, Cherubin; Garics, Pazienza, Christodoulopoulos, Friberg, Morleo; Ibson, Cristaldo.
Juventus substitutes: Caceres, Pepe, Vucinic, Tevez, Peluso, Osvaldo, Padoin, Vidal, Quagliarella, Storari, Rubinho.
Juventus starting line-up: Buffon; Barzagli, Ogbonna, Chiellini; Isla, Marchisio, Pirlo, Pogba, Asamoah; Llorente, Giovinco.
TEAM NEWS: Plenty of injuries for the visitors, with Panagiotis Kone, Rene Krhin, Jose Crespo and Francesco Della Rocca missing out. Jonathan Cristaldo is trusted to lead the line against a solid Juve defence, as two like-for-like formations clash. Gyorgy Garics and Archimede Morleo may find themselves acting more like full-backs than wing-backs, however.
TEAM NEWS: Andrea Barzagli returns to the starting line-up after a month on the sidelines, accompanying Giorgio Chiellini and Angelo Ogbonna in defence due to Leonardo Bonucci's suspension. Arturo Vidal and Carlos Tevez are benched as a precaution, with Stephan Lichtsteiner missing out through suspension. Sebastian Giovinco will look to continue his fruitful partnership with Fernando Llorente up front, as Dani Osvaldo isn't deemed worthy of a start.
I'm Simon Harrison and I will be keeping you fully informed with all of the action at the Juventus Stadium, with the home side closing in on some silverware. This game is equally as important for Bologna however, who sit above the relegation zone on goal difference, after Sassuolo's win over Chievo earlier today. With only two defeats from their last five matches, today's visitors might just provide some resilience.
Hello and welcome to live coverage of one of Serie A's late kick-offs, in what has been a bumper day of action in the Italian top flight. Juventus face Bologna at home, knowing that a win here today would push them ever-closer to securing the Scudetto. If Roma lose against Fiorentina later tonight and Antonio Conte's men pick up a win this afternoon, the Old Lady can secure the title next week.
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