Pirlo magic keeps Juve on track for scudetto
Andrea Pirlo produced a piece of free-kick magic to keep Juventus on track for a third consecutive scudetto thanks to a late 1-0 win away to Genoa on Sunday.
Juventus looked to be heading for only their fourth draw of the season, having seen goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon save Emanuele Calaio's 72nd minute penalty and two other great earlier chances for the hosts.
However Antonio Conte's men were handed a lifeline when Fabio Quagliarella won a questionable free kick on the edge of the area, and Pirlo stepped up to send a curling drive over the wall and past the outstretched hands of Mattia Perin.
Juventus now have 75 points and a 17-point lead on Roma, who host Udinese on Monday but also have a game in hand.
Napoli sit third, a further three points off the pace, ahead of their trip to Torino on Monday when Rafael Benitez's side will look to avoid any slip-ups following Fiorentina's 3-1 win Sunday night over outclassed Chievo.
Juan Cuadrado got Fiorentina off the mark in Florence with a fine 11th minute volley although Alberto Paloschi spurned a great chance to level when he shot straight at Michael Agazzi on a one-on-one on the half-hour.
Alessandro Matri fired home from Cuadrado's cross to give La Viola a 2-0 half-time lead.
Paloschi's persistence paid off when he collected Luca Rignoni's pass and showed fine individual skill to beat Neto on 62 minutes.
Fiorentina spurned a third goal after the referee awarded a penalty following Matteo Rubin's handball, but Agazzi did well to block David Pizarro's spot-kick.
But the hosts finished with a flurry when Mario Gomez came off the bench to nutmeg Agazzi in the 89th minute.
Genoa looked determined to give no quarter to the Serie A champions, but in the process earned four yellow cards in the first half alone.
Sebastian De Maio was cautioned after impeding Stephan Lichtsteiner's run and after the first of two Pablo Daniel Osvaldo goals was ruled out for offside, Stefano Sturaro's challenge on Giorgio Chiellini earned the midfielder a booking.
Minutes later, Giuseppe Sculli then Alberto Gilardino both saw yellow, the latter for an attempted elbow on Leonardo Bonucci, although Juve were still creating chances.
After Osvaldo fired Pirlo's delivery towards the back post high and wide, the former Southampton striker saw a second goal chalked off when he chipped Paul Pogba's flick over Mattia Perin and into the Genoa net.
Moments earlier Genoa had seen claims for a penalty waved away after Andrea Bertolucci sent a header wide under pressure by Lichsteiner.
Genoa continued to harry and were unfortunate when Bertolacci controlled well on the edge of the area only to send his shot straight at the advancing Buffon.
Juve had claims for a penalty waved away on 68 minutes when Fernando Llorente's cross hit the arm of Luca Antonelli.
Genoa won a penalty moments later due to a more convincing handball from Arturo Vidal, however Buffon was equal to Calaio's tame spot-kick.
Conte replaced Osvaldo with Quagliarella and after the striker won a crucial free kick in Pirlo territory when he somehow tumbled under slight pressure on the edge of the area.
Earlier, former AC Milan striker Antonio Cassano struck a brace in a 4-2 win for Parma at 10-man Milan which dropped the Rossoneri to 12th, now 40 points behind Juve and 12 points off the first Europa League spot.
It prompted dozens of angry fans to congregate outside Milan's shared San Siro ground to protest, some of whom got to meet under-fire coach Clarence Seedorf to vent their frustrations.
After Fiorentina's win, Parma dropped to sixth but are only one point behind Inter, 2-0 winners at Verona on Saturday, with a game in hand.
Lazio maintained their hopes of Europa League football with a 2-0 away win at Cagliari which kept the capital side five points behind Parma in seventh.