TURIN (Reuters) – Paulo Dybala scored after 44 seconds for Juventus but they were made to struggle in a 3-1 win over a brave Cagliari team as they stayed six points clear in Serie A on Saturday.
Juventus have now won 10 of their 11 league games but they needed the help of an own goal by Filip Bradaric after Joao Pedro had equalised for Cagliari.
Dybala gave Juve the perfect start when he received a pass on the edge of the penalty area, twisted one way and then the other and, despite slipping as he struck the ball, scored with a right-foot shot past Alessio Cragno.
Cagliari fought back and, after having a penalty appeal for handball turned down following a VAR review, forced Juve goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny into a point-blank save to block a Leonardo Pavoletti volley.
The Sardinian side deservedly levelled in the 36th minute when Joao Pedro controlled Darijo Srna’s cross with an excellent first touch before beating Szczesny with a low drive.
But Juve were gifted a goal less than two minutes later by Bradaric who, under no immediate pressure, slid in and diverted Douglas Costa’s low cross into the net.
Cristiano Ronaldo, who hit the post on the stroke of halftime, laid the third on a plate for Juan Cuadrado with three minutes left after Cagliari were exposed on the counter-attack.
Juve have 31 points out of a possible 33 with Inter Milan, who beat Genoa 5-0 earlier on Saturday, and Napoli, 5-1 winners over Empoli on Friday, both on 25.
(Reporting by Brian Homewood; editing by Martyn Herman)