Bologna 0-0 Juventus: No sweet sixteenth for the Bianconeri

Bologna halted Juventus' 15-game winning streak with a hard-fought goalless draw at the Stadio Renato Dall'Ara.

Bologna 0-0 Juventus: No sweet sixteenth for the Bianconeri
Image source: Tuttosport
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Bologna: Mirante; Mbaye, Maietta, Gastaldello, Masina (Constant, min. 72); Donsah, Diawara, Taider (Brienza, min. 81); Rizzo (Mounier, min. 64), Destro, Giaccherini.
Juventus: Buffon; Lichtsteiner, Barzagli, Bonucci, Evra; Sturaro, Marchisio, Pogba; Pereyra (Cuadrado, min. 45); Zaza (Dybala, min. 67), Morata.
REFEREE: Massimiliano Irrati (ITA). Admonished Gastaldello (min. 32), Sturaro (min. 40), Marchisio (min. 44), Diawara (min. 90).

Bologna halted Juventus' 15-match winning stretch with a resolute goalless draw at the Stadio Renato Dall'Ara in Serie A.

The Rossoblu's surge up the league standings since Roberto Donadoni's appointment in October has been predicated on their defensive parsimony and they were able to hold the league leaders at arms length as they looked to extend their lead atop the league table.

The result now leaves the door open for Napoli to reclaim top spot, albeit on goal difference, when they host Milan at the San Paolo on Monday evening.

Fiery affair

Both wrestled for the initiative during the opening exchanges, with Alvaro Morata posing a threat down the hosts’ right-hand side.

Patrice Evra, so proficient for corners, headed inches wide of the post on nine minutes after freeing himself from his marker.

Morata was central to a cutting Juve move on the 14th-minute mark, sliding a delightful pass through to Claudio Marchisio after a nice exchange with Paul Pogba.

Bologna took 20 minutes to provoke Gianluigi Buffon into action but Mattia Destro’s rasping effort did exactly that.

Evading Marchisio on the edge of the area, the Italian unleashed at the visiting goal but, when the Juventus No.1 could only palm the ball straight to the advancing Godfred Donsah, the midfielder flashed the rebound wide of the mark.

The Rossoblu had been assured in possession during the opening period but complaceny seemed to characterise their moves as they entered the final-third. Luca Rizzo, in particular, was guilty of halting attacks with wayward through balls.

Marchisio was treading on thin water after he bundled over Adam Masina shortly after the restart when carrying a yellow card.

Bologna began the second-half with a spring in their step and Donsah almost picked out Destro in the six-yard box but Leonardo Bonucci, akin to his clearance to foil Gonzalo Higuain last weekend, intervened to good effect.

Image source: Calciomercato

Stephan Lichtsteiner pulled a delicious ball back to Pogba on the edge of the area but the Frenchman fizzed his volley just wide of the near post.

The game seemed to enter a period of scrappiness around the hour-mark, with Destro escaping a caution for deliberate handball and a few feisty challenges in midfield going unchecked.  

Nailbiting conclusion

Rested with a midweek meeting with Bayern Munich in mind, Max Allegri rolled the dice and introduced talisman Paulo Dybala for the inconspicuous Simone Zaza on 67 minutes.

Juan Cuadrado’s misplaced pass seemed to encapsulate Juve’s display, skipping past Amadou Diawara before his incisive pass was intercepted by Donsah. 

Pogba was presented with the opportunity to break the deadlock when he drifted into space and was picked out by Marchisio, but his first touch was erratic and his left-footed finish was wayward. 

A little slicker and Bologna could have stunned those of a Juve persuasion minutes later, however. Franco Brienza clipped a lovely ball towards Emanuele Giaccherini who volleyed just over.

Morata called Mirante into action four minutes from time with a menacing effort that clipped the outside of the post.

Pogba, more or less stationed as a third attacker, drove a left-footed attempt across goal that, if it wasn’t for the fingertips of Mirante, would have trickled through to Cuadrado for a tap-in at the far stick.