presented by
Form check

Weakened Juve beat bottom club Pescara

Increase font size Text size

Four days prior to the Champions League quarter-final return against Bayern, Juventus avoided any stutter or slip-up in their weekend domestic fixture. Despite fielding what was effectively a second-choice line-up, i bianconeri deservedly beat struggling Delfino Pescara on Saturday evening and are guaranteed to at least maintain their nine-point lead at the top of the Serie A standings with seven games still to play.

For the meeting between the leaders and the club in last place, Juve boss Antonio Conte opted for a complete reshuffle and made eight changes to the team which started in Munich last Tuesday. The likes of keeper Gianluigi Buffon and schemer Andrea Pirlo spent 90 minutes on the bench, with defenders Andrea Barzagli and Giorgio Chiellini absent in any case with suspension.

The unfamiliar Juventus side soon settled to the task at hand and dominated the first half, but Pescara keeper Ivan Pelizzoli made half a dozen outstanding saves to keep his side in the hunt, with sub Fabio Quagliarella also hitting the goal frame five minutes from half-time.

Vucinic double strike

The visitors’ resistance was finally broken midway through the second half, prompted by a straight red card for Giuseppe Rizzo on 72 minutes for a foul on Arturo Vidal as last man. Mirko Vucinic converted the ensuing penalty to hand his side a long overdue lead. The striker completed his brace five minutes later with a fine solo effort, and although Pescara's Emmanuel Cascione pulled one back after 83 minutes with the bottom club’s solitary clear-cut chance up to that point, the home side saw out time comfortably enough.

However, Conte’s delight at the victory was tarnished by an injury to striker Sebastian Giovinco, who was stretchered off with a knee injury after only 29 minutes. The Juve marksman is rated doubtful for Wednesday's clash with Bayern.

Juventus line-up against Pescara:
Storari - Bonucci (81. Isla), Marrone, Peluso - Lichtsteiner, Vidal, Pogba, Giaccherini, Asamoah - Vucinic (79. Matri), Giovinco (32. Quagliarella)