Sunday, March 7

Juve beat Bologna to keep title hopes alive

With a hard-fought 2-0 home victory over Bologna, Juventus got their Serie A title defense back on track.

Arthur Melo scored his first goal for the Turin club in the first half. While USMNT midfielder Weston McKennie headed home the second after 71 minutes. Bologna goalkeeper Lukasz Skorupski made some amazing saves to keep his side in the match. And in an exciting encounter at the Allianz Stadium, the visitors also had good chances.

Following the disappointment of their 2-0 loss to Inter Milan last weekend, it was a much-needed victory for Pirlo’s side as it cut the gap behind league leaders AC Milan to seven points. Also, the champions still have a game in hand. Arthur’s speculative effort ricocheted off Bologna’s Jerdy Schouten and into the bottom corner after 15 minutes. The goal got off to a strong start. In order to deny Cristiano Ronaldo and Federico Bernardeschi, Skorupski then created a superb double-save.

After the break, Bologna came to life as Juve goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny saved Juan Cuadrado’s blushes. Szczesny paled his teammate’s header over the bar until a whipped Riccardo Orsolini’s effort was thwarted by the Pole’s diving save. But by finding space to head in from a corner, McKennie made sure of the points. And Bologna again had Skorupski to thank for holding the score down as he blocked McKennie, Adrien Rabiot, and Ronaldo’s efforts in the closing stages.

With 36 points from 18 games, Juventus is fourth, one point behind AS Roma in third. On Wednesday, by leading Juve to a 2-0 victory over Napoli in the Italian Super Cup, Pirlo won the first trophy of his short managerial career. This brought some welcome relief to the Turin giants after their meek loss by Inter.

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