Juventus moved to within two points of Serie A leaders Inter Milan after Sunday’s hard-fought 1-0 win at AC Milan who had to play over half the match with 10 men.
Massimiliano Allegri’s side prevailed at a packed San Siro thanks to Milan youth product Manuel Locatelli’s long-range strike 62 minutes into a largely drab encounter.
Juve, who like Milan were missing a clutch of first-choice players from their startings XI, stay third but are within touching distance of Inter and a point behind Milan who have surrendered top spot to their local rivals.
Locatelli was awarded the winning goal but his shot wouldn’t have got past Milan’s third-choice goalkeeper Antonio Mirante had it not been for a massive deflection off substitute Rade Krunic, making his return from injury.
Mirante, who was in goal in place of suspended Mike Maignan and the injured Marco Sportiello, hadn’t had a single save to make up to that point, even after Malick Thiaw was sent off five minutes before the break.
The Germany defender rugby tackled Moise Kean as he tried to latch onto Timothy Weah’s through ball, and referee Maurizio Mariani was in no doubt that Thiaw had denied a clear goalscoring opportunity.
Kean then missed a golden opportunity to put Juve ahead on the stroke of half-time when he pushed Adrien Rabiot’s deep cross wide from inches out.
Milan started the second half stronger but Locatelli’s deflected goal deflated the hosts and led to the rest of the match being almost a non-event, as Juve were content to simply control the match rather than press home their advantage.
Mirante did make his presence felt late on, neatly tipping over substitute Dusan Vlahovic’s drive with five minutes remaining and pulling off a brilliant double save from Andrea Cambiaso and Vlahovic.
Stephan El Shaarawy shot Roma to within touching distance of the Champions League places with his late winner in a 1-0 success over 10-man Monza.
Italy international El Shaarawy lashed in a low finish in the final minute at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome, pushing Jose Mourinho’s team up to seventh with their third straight league win.
Roma, who also struck the woodwork late on through Romelu Lukaku and Sardar Azmoun, are three points behind Napoli and fourth-placed Fiorentina.
El Shaarawy’s first goal of the season came at the end of a tough match against 11th-placed Monza who had to play the entire second half with 10 men following Danilo D’Ambrosio’s harsh sending off for two bookable offences four minutes before half-time.
“When I saw Azmoun’s shot, more than Lukaku’s, hit the post I thought, ‘Bah, if that doesn’t go in’… but Stephan has a feeling for goals and scoring late so he won the match for us,” said Mourinho to Sky Sport.
Mourinho was sent off in stoppage time as tensions flared between the two dugouts after El Shaarawy struck, the Portuguese making a crying motion at the Monza staff.
Defeat for Monza was harsh as the away side put up a brave fight despite being a man down for half the match, El Shaarawy’s winner the first goal they have conceded from open play since being thumped by Atalanta at the start of September.
“I saw the boys out there with heart and giving their all. I praised my team after the match because they showed a lot of character,” said Palladino.
Roma were briefly sixth but were bumped down a place by Atalanta who squeezed to a 2-0 win over promoted Genoa which took them up to 16 points, two ahead of Mourinho’s team.
Bologna are nestled behind Roma on goal difference after beating promoted Frosinone 2-1 while Filippo Inzaghi’s new team Salernitana and Cagliari drew 2-2 in a frantic match between two struggling sides.