MILAN – Defending champion Juventus scored two stoppage-time goals to snatch a controversial 3-1 win over 10-man Cagliari in Serie A on Friday.
Mirko Vucinic sealed the result following two goals from former Cagliari striker Alessandro Matri - the decisive second after an apparent handball by teammate Arturo Vidal.
Mauricio Pinilla gave Cagliari a surprise lead with a penalty in the 16th minute. Cagliari defender Davide Astori was sent off in the 65th for a second yellow card.
Seconds earlier, Juventus had hit the post and seen a penalty claim turned down. Vidal, who had conceded Cagliari's penalty, missed a spot kick of his own in the 70th minute.
There were just 41 Cagliari fans present after the home game was switched was switched from Cagliari's Is Arenas Stadium to Parma, more than 780 kilometers away.
Juventus is now 10 points ahead of second-placed Inter Milan, which faces Genoa on Saturday, ahead of the winter break.
Cagliari had picked up just one point from its last five Serie A meetings against Juventus, but it took the lead after Vidal tripped Marco Sau on the far left of the area.
Pinilla fired a powerful spot kick into the top left corner giving Gianluigi Buffon no chance, even though the Juventus goalkeeper went the right way.
Juventus should have leveled immediately after the hour mark. Leonardo Bonucci's powerful header crashed off the left post and Matri tried to tap in but Cagliari goalkeeper Michael Agazzi pulled off a superb save.
Kwadwo Asamoah was pushed as he tried to head in the rebound and the Juventus players surrounded the referee appealing for a penalty, but nothing was given.
Moments later Cagliari was reduced to 10 men when Astori was shown a second yellow and dismissed following a foul on Sebastian Giovinco.
The Juventus forward then won a penalty when he was tripped by Daniele Del Fabro but Vidal blasted his spot kick over the bar.
It is the third penalty - out of six - that Juventus has missed this season, and Vidal's second error from the spot. Juventus leveled 10 minutes from time through Matri, who played for Cagliari for four years before moving to the Turin side in 2011.
As the Bianconeri pressed for the winner, Agazzi pulled off several stunning saves, including one at point-blank range to deny Asamoah.
However, he could do nothing in the second minute of injury timem, when Juventus controversially took the lead.
Nene's attempted clearance hit Vidal's hand and the rebound fell to Matri to slot home.
Vucinic then tapped in Giovinco's shot three minutes later.
In the night's other game, Eugenio Togni's first-ever Serie A goal lifted Pescara out of the relegation zone in thrilling circumstances at the Stadio Adriatico.
Togni scored with the last kick of the game deep in stoppage time to earn the Delfini a 2-1 win over Catania - and the Pescara forward could not hold back the tears of joy at the final whistle.
Mervan Celik gave Pescara a 23rd-minute lead, but Pablo Barrientos levelled soon after before the dramatic conclusion.
The wet weather and early kick-off on a working day may have kept many fans away from the Stadio Adriatico but they missed an open and entertaining game between two sides who wanted the points for different reasons.