A fine Paul Pogba volley late on proved the difference as Juventus beat Sassuolo 1-0 to stretch the gap at the top of Serie A to 11 points.
Paul Pogba lashed home a superb 82nd-minute half-volley as Juventus made an instant return to winning ways on home soil with a 1-0 victory over Sassuolo that sent the Serie A champions 11 points clear at the top of the table.
A combination of a couple of fine Andrea Consigli saves and some wayward finishing looked set to frustrate Massimiliano Allegri's men on Monday until Pogba made the decisive breakthrough eight minutes from time.
Simone Pepe surged forward and passed for Pogba to take the ball in his stride and unleash a fine strike from the edge of the penalty area that gave Consigli no chance as it nestled in the bottom corner.
Pogba's seventh league goal of the season – having opened his Serie A account for 2014-15 in the 1-1 draw at Sassuolo back in October – enabled Juve to bounce back from Thursday's Coppa Italia defeat at the hands of Fiorentina, the club's first home loss since April 2013.
Sassuolo started without fear and looked particularly dangerous on the break, although they were given a 13th-minute scare when a short-corner routine allowed Claudio Marchisio a sight of goal from just inside the penalty area and his angled drive skewed off target.
Neat footwork from Alvaro Morata on the left wing saw him steal a yard on his marker and his deflected centre fell kindly for Roberto Pereyra to find Carlos Tevez, who created space with his first touch and hit a rising effort that sailed over.
Domenico Berardi, co-owned by the two clubs, ballooned over at the opposite end before Juve continued to crank up the intensity as the match approached the half-hour mark - Giorgio Chiellini timing his jump to perfection to meet a Tevez corner but failing to keep his thumping header down.
Tevez was next to try his luck again, forcing Consigli to punch away a rasping drive, before crudely hacking down Simone Zaza to a concede a free-kick 25 yards out that Nicola Sansone curled straight into the arms of the grateful Marco Storari, deputising for the ill Gianluigi Buffon.
Morata cut in from the left and fired across goal two minutes before half-time and the hosts picked up where they left off after the restart.
Consigli had to be at full stretch to tip Pogba's powerful low strike around the post after Patrice Evra's cross was only cleared as far as the midfielder just outside the box.
Stephan Lichtsteiner's cross just prior to the hour mark was cleverly chested by Morata to Tevez, but the striker's shot was always curling just away from goal.
Leonardo Bonucci's dipping volley from fully 35 yards forced Consigli to scramble it behind and Fernando Llorente spun and shot wide from close range as Juve's pressure continued to mount before Pogba strode forward to settle it late on.comments