The on-loan striker came off the bench with just over 15 minutes remaining to decide the game in the Bianconeri's favour, thus maintaining their three-point lead over AC MilanJuventus moved a step closer to the Scudetto by recording a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Cesena at the Dino Manuzzi on Wednesday.
Marco Borriello, who arrived in Turin on loan from Roma in January, picked a most opportune time to net his first Serie A goal of the season, coming off the bench to fire home with just 10 minutes remaining.
Juventus made a rip-roaring start to Sunday’s 4-0 rout of Roma and they should have been ahead inside nine minutes against Cesena. However, Andrea Pirlo struck the base of the right post after referee Marco Guida had pointed to the spot after his assistant had incorrectly ruled that Vangelis Moras had handled the ball in the area as Mirko Vucinic tried to flick the ball past the Greek defender.
For a long time it appeared that Pirlo’s miss might prove costly as the Bianconeri struggled to take command of the game. Indeed, their best opportunities arrived from set-pieces, with Vucinic nodding over from just five metres out after being left unmarked at a corner before Paolo De Ceglie saw a header kept out by a combination of Francesco Antonioli and the right post.
The Bianconeri did up the tempo after the interval and Alessandro Matri very nearly broke the deadlock after being slipped in on goal by Claudio Marchisio but his subsequent shot was palmed off the line by Antonioli after being initially slowed down by a deflection off the keeper’s legs.
Juve continued to threaten through Pirlo’s pinpoint dead-ball deliveries but they became increasingly frustrated by Cesena’s disciplined rearguard action.
Coach Antonio Conte decided to send on Alessandro Del Piero and Marco Borriello in the hope of forcing a winner and the latter fired first time into the bottom left corner of the Cesena goal after reacting quickest to Vucinic’s knockdown.
It was a crucial goal for Juventus in light of AC Milan’s victory over Genoa at San Siro as it keeps them three points above their title rivals. It also represented the final nail in Cesena’s coffin as it confirmed their demotion to Serie B.