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Juventus 1-0 Bologna: Pogba piledriver puts Bianconeri on brink of title

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Juventus 1-0 Bologna: Pogba piledriver puts Bianconeri on brink of title
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Juventus 1-0 Bologna: Pogba piledriver puts Bianconeri on brink of title

Paul Pogba produced a trademark piledriver to earn Juventus a crucial 1-0 victory over Bologna which edges the Italian champions ever closer to a third successive Serie A title.

Antonio Conte's men initially suffered frustration against their struggling opponents in Turin on Saturday, before their France midfielder found the breakthrough in the 64th minute.

Regardless of other results, Juventus can secure the Scudetto with wins over Sassuolo and Atalanta before it visits second-placed Roma on May 9, while the reigning champion could even retain their title sooner should Rudi Garcia's side slip up.

Pogba saw two promising chances go begging within the first quarter of an hour, but from there Bologna kept things tight with a solid defensive display.

That trend continued after the break, but Pogba ultimately found a way through to ease the tension in Turin.

The result was somewhat harsh on Bologna, which sits just one place above the drop zone - level on points with 18th-placed Sassuolo - and must quickly regroup ahead of a home game against Fiorentina next weekend.

Juve carved open the visiting defense as early as the fifth minute. Fernando Llorente held the ball up well before laying into the path of Pogba, who sent a tame shot straight at goalkeeper Gianluca Curci when he should have done better.

Pogba was once more guilty of wastefulness from Juve's next opportunity, the France international heading Andrea Pirlo's superb corner over the crossbar from eight yards.

Juventus looked for more thrust in attack after the break, and a neat flick from Sebastian Giovinco found its way to Mauricio Isla – playing in place of the suspended Stephan Lichtsteiner -  but Curci was quick to react and made a smart save.

Juve's frustrations continued as Pogba curled a left-footed shot from the edge of the box wide of the far post.

Pogba was not to be denied, however, and finally broke Bologna's brave resistance in the 63rd minute. The France international received Isla's pass before drilling a low effort into the bottom left-hand corner.

From the next attack Isla almost doubled the lead but he was denied as Curci sprung to his left to make a stop. Pogba again went close in the closing stages, the 21-year-old hitting a half-volley straight at Curci from eight yards.

However, one goal proved to be enough for Juventus, which can now look forward to Thursday's encounter at Benfica in the first leg of a Europa League semifinal.

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