Juventus survived a scare as they came from behind to beat Serie A’s bottom club Benevento 2-1 at home on their 120th anniversary.
The win moves the defending champions to within a point of leaders Napoli, who were held to a 0-0 draw at Chievo, and a point above third-placed Inter, who were held to a 1-1 draw against visiting Torino.
Juve started brightly and were unlucky not to take the lead in the early stages, with Douglas Costa hitting the woodwork twice in three first-half minutes, first having his 13th-minute cross turned onto the post by visiting goalkeeper Alberto Brignoli before clattering the bar shortly after.
It was Benevento, who are rooted to the foot of the table after losing all of their league games this season, who shocked the Turin crowd as they broke the deadlock in the first half when Amato Ciciretti’s free kick found the bottom corner at the 19th minute.
Not wanting the ignominy of becoming the first side to concede points to Benevento in Serie A, the hosts threw everything at Benevento as they searched for a leveller but the champions could not find a way past the impressive Brignoli in the first half, with Paulo Dybala and Cuadrado among those to be denied before the break.
It was in the second half when Juve flew out of the traps and levelled things up 12 minutes after the interval when Gonzalo Higuain fired in his fifth goal in four games in all competitions after Blaise Matuidi had headed Mattia De Sciglio’s cross into his path.
They then finally found their winner after another period of intense pressure as they scored again eight minutes later when Juan Cuadrado nodded in after getting on the end of Alex Sandro’s deep cross.
The home side pushed for a third in the closing exchanges but Brignoli was again on hand to keep out substitute Rodrigo Bentancur in added time, as Juventus celebrated their 120th anniversary with the home team wearing ‘1897’ shirts.