Juventus came out on top in a tightly contested affair at a cold and wet Renzo Barbera thanks to the Swiss' hero's second-half strike to mark Antonio Conte's return to the bench.
Stephan Lichtsteiner was the hero for the Old Lady, with his goal being enough to separate the two sides on an icy cold and rainy afternoon in the Sicilian capital.
Juventus’ coach Antonio Conte returned to the bench following his three-month ban for his part in a match-fixing scandal, and he made a couple of changes to the side that overcome Shakhtar Donetsk midweek with Alessandro Matri coming in for the suspended Sebastian Giovinco while Cladui Marchusio is restored to the side in place of Paul Pogba.The toils of Juventus’ midweek adventure to Ukraine were clearly showing as the league leaders struggled to create chances at the other end while their hosts dominated possession in the middle of the park. It took until the 30-minute mark for Juventus to fashion its first attempt on goal, and it came through midfielder Claudio Marchisio, who fired over after the ball fell to him for a corner.
Five minutes later, a better chance arrived. A deep cross from Arturo Vidal was chested down by Matri into the path of Marchisio, and Samir Ujkani could only parry into the path of Mirko Vucinic, who, with an outstretched leg, had his soft attempt rebound off the post.The weather conditions did not improve as the players headed out for the second period, but, that did not stop Juve from continuing as they left off in the first half, as Vucinic broke forward and came agonizingly close to opening only to see his effort rolled by the post.
The game’s goal came moments later, though. Vucinic’s classy back-heeled pass found a charging Lichsteiner and the Swiss defender made no mistake from 12 yards out.
The game took on a familiar pattern following Juve’s opener, with Palermo playing on the counterattack while Juve searched and probed for a second goal. Paulo Dybala came on for the hosts and almost had an immediate impact when he sent in a whistling shot from just outside the area. Moments later it was Nicklas Bendtner who with his first touch also came to close to scoring Juve’s second and his first for his new club, but, the Dane’s effort went wide of the post.
With quarter of an hour remaining, the Sicilians' chances of getting something out of the game were made that much harder when Michel Morganella was shown his second yellow of the afternoon, leaving Gian Piero Gasperini’s side with just 10 men.
Palermo succumbed to its eighth loss of the season, while Juventus continued its march towards a second successive Scudetto with its third win on the trot in all competitions.