Hellas Verona 0-1 Juventus: Kean strike earns fifth straight victory
Juventus made it five straight Serie A wins as Moise Kean's goal was enough to see off bottom-placed hosts Hellas Verona on Thursday.
Verona had lost eight consecutive league games while Massimiliano Allegri's men had won four in a row.
However, Salvatore Bocchetti's men made it difficult for Juve and it looked as if they had a chance of earning an important point.
But Kean's deflected 60th-minute strike made it three goals in three starts for him and his team held on to continue their winning streak, despite a late red card for Alex Sandro.
Verona started brightly and went close within three minutes, though Sulemana's powerful drive flew just past the post after a corner was cleared to him outside the box.
Juve grew into the game, with Arkadiusz Milik and Manuel Locatelli both testing Verona goalkeeper Lorenzo Montipo.
Pawel Dawidowicz missed a decent opportunity after the interval when he scooped over after the ball fell kindly to him in the area.
Juve nearly went ahead when Adrien Rabiot crossed for Kean but the low delivery just evaded the former Everton striker's outstretched boot.
The game was becoming more stretched and Juve hit the hosts on a sublime counter to grab the lead on the hour.
Kean took Rabiot's pass in his stride before his deflected effort was pawed at by Montipo but not enough to stop it bouncing in.
Juve had an almighty scare when a collision between Leonardo Bonucci and Simone Verdi in the box led to the referee pointing to the spot but a VAR check encouraged him to reverse his decision.
Sandro was shown a second yellow card in injury-time for cynically barging over Kevin Lasagna as the forward charged down on goal, but it did not matter as the resulting free-kick flew over and the final whistle eventually came, much to Juve's relief.
What does it mean? Allegri's men earn hard-fought victory
Juve certainly did not have it all their own way here but a superb goal on the counter and some dogged defending saw them through.
Verona piled on the pressure late and registered 1.27 xG (expected goals) to Juve's 1.03 over the 90 minutes, but Allegri will not care as his team pick up yet another three points.
Kean the hero
With star striker Dusan Vlahovic still absent with injury, it fell upon Kean and Milik to lead the line for Juve.
It was the former who came up trumps, scoring his team's winner with one of his two shots and completing 88.9 per cent of his passes in the opposition half while also having a team-high five touches in Verona's box.
Bonucci a lucky boy
On his 350th Serie A appearance for the Bianconeri, Bonucci can perhaps count himself lucky for not giving away a penalty late on.
His rash challenge on Verdi was initially given as a spot-kick, so he will have been very relieved when the decision was overturned. It was not the veteran's best game to mark the milestone, winning just two of his seven aerial duels and 36.4 per cent of his total duels.
Key Opta facts
Juve have won five straight league matches for the first time since the period between February and July 2020 (seven in that case). The last time the Bianconeri had recorded at least five consecutive clean sheets in Serie A was in December 2018 (six).
Verona have lost 11 games in this league; in the first 14 Serie A matches of the season they had never previously lost more than nine (1973-74 and 2017-18).
This was the 350th Serie A appearance with Juve for Bonucci, who became the seventh player to reach the milestone with the Bianconeri in the top flight, after Gianluigi Buffon, Alessandro Del Piero, Giampiero Boniperti, Giorgio Chiellini, Gaetano Scirea and Giuseppe Furino.
Allegri's men have not conceded a goal in the first half in 11 of their 14 games; no team has done better this season in Serie A.
Both teams have one more Serie A game on Sunday before the league pauses for the World Cup, with Juve hosting Lazio while Verona play Spezia.