Juventus stuttered to a goalless draw against a determined but limited Lazio, which barely had a sniff of its opponents' goal and relied on an inspired performance from goalkeeper Federico Marchetti.
The Old Lady dominated proceedings and spent the final half an hour in the visitors' half, but never really looked like finding a way past Marchetti, even though Leonardo Bonucci rattled the crossbar from close range.
The game started slowly, and the home side only had a speculative effort from Kwadwo Asamoah to show for their early endeavors.
Antonio Conte's side went closer after 18 minutes; after controlling a high ball, Sebastian Giovinco forced a fine low save from Marchetti with a half-volley on the turn, while Fabio Quagliarella could only fire the loose ball into the side netting from an awkward angle. With a little of the composure he has shown in recent weeks, the Italian might have given his side the lead.
Giovinco was at the heart of everything good as far as Juve was concerned in the first half, and had two opportunities to score the opening goal in a matter of moments. First, with a piece of skill similar to his earlier half-volley, he superbly brought down Mauricio Isla's right-wing pass and flashed a shot wide of the post from the edge of the area, before repeating the trick seconds later when he controlled Leonardo Bonucci's long ball and dragged another effort across goal.
Lazio had little to show for itself throughout, but Hernanes, as ever, looked to be the biggest threat during the first half. The Brazilian offered a warning to the Bianconeri with a driving run through their midfield 10 minutes before the break, only to be snuffed out. It was to be the story of the night for the away side.
The hosts finished the half on top in terms of possession, but without anything to show for their efforts, and that would be, ultimately, how the game ended.
A minute into the new half, Pogba lashed an effort over the bar from 25 yards as the Frenchman signaled his, and his team's, attacking intent.
Conte's men upped the tempo, but still they could not break down the Biancocelesti back-line, often due to poor service from the wide areas.
Yet they almost went ahead when Quagliarella deflected Arturo Vidal's long-range effort towards goal, only for Marchetti to change direction and push the ball over the crossbar thanks to a fine reaction save.
Marchetti came to his side's rescue yet again moments later when he got down low to cut out Isla's low ball across the area with Quagliarella waiting to pounce. It was to be the striker's last involvement in the game, as he swiftly made way for Alessandro Matri.
Again Juve came forward and again it was a low cross from the Chilean winger, but this time Abdoulay Konko was on hand to clear the danger with his goalkeeper beaten.
The visiting side came closer still with 15 minutes on the clock. This time Bonucci crashed the ball off the crossbar from around six yards out out following Matri's downward header. Had he gone to finish with a bit more control, Juve may have had its goal.
That man Marchetti was at full strength again three minutes later to keep out Matri's curling effort from 25 yards.
As the final whistle approached, the home side poured forward with more urgency than it had done at the end of the first half, but the end result was the same; it could not conjure up a piece of magic to carve open Lazio.
The Turin side has now failed to win its last two home league matches, and although it will move five points ahead of second-placed Inter, Andrea Stramaccioni's side will have the opportunity to close the gap at the top to two points when it plays Cagliari on Sunday.
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- Sports & Recreation
- Leonardo Bonucci
- Federico Marchetti
- Fabio Quagliarella