Serie A - Late Matri brace bags Juventus win over Cagliari

Serie A, Stadio Ennio Tardini - Cagliari 1 (Pen. Pinilla 16') Juventus 3 (Matri 76', 90', Vucinic 90+5)

Alessandro Matri’s two goals in the last 15 minutes earned Juventus a dramatic 3-1 win against his former team Cagliari in Serie A.

Cagliari took the lead in the 16th minute when Mauricio Pinilla scored from the spot-kick after Marco Sau was fouled by Arturo Vidal.

Vidal then missed the chance to equalise in the second half after missing a penalty of his own before Cagliari captain Davide Astori was sent off for a second bookable offence.

Juventus finally equalised in the 76th minute when Matri tapped in from close range, reacting swiftly after goalkeeper Michael Agazzi could not hold a long-distance shot from Vucinic.

Agazzi could do nothing about Matri’s second goal in the 92nd minute, when he finished coolly after a lucky ricochet in the penalty area before Mirko Vucinic wrapped up the scoring in the 95th with a one-yard tap-in as he followed in Giovinco’s pass.

Mirko Vucinic netted the third goal in the final seconds of the match but it was not all a walk in the park for the Serie A leaders.

Cagliari enjoyed much of the first half and took the lead from the penalty spot in the 16th minute.

Top-scorer Marco Sau collected the ball in the penalty area and was faced by two defenders, including Vidal who stuck out a leg and just caught Sau. The Cagliari striker needed no encouragement to go down and the referee pointed to the spot after a few seconds deliberation.

Mauricio Pinilla stepped up confidently and blasted the ball into the top corner to give his side a precious lead.

Juventus applied pressure but could not find a way through although three of Cagliari’s back four picked up yellow cards, including captain Davide Astori.

The Bianconeri came out like a steam train in the second stanza and had an equaliser disallowed as Kwadwo Asamoah was ruled offside in the 64th minute.

Just one minute later Cagliari lost their captain Astori after he picked up his second yellow card for what seemed an innocuous trip on Sebastian Giovinco.

Juventus cranked up the pressure again and won a 71st-minute penalty when Giovinco went down off the slightest of touches from Dario Del Fabro. Arturo Vidal stepped up but his shot went flying over the bar.

It did not take long for Juve to pick themselves up as in the 75th minute Vucinic struck from long distance only for Michael Agazzi to fumble the ball back into the penalty area where Matri was first to react and tapped in from close range.

Cagliari continued to defend valiantly and Agazzi was again called into action with a point-blank save onto the post from an Asamoah header in the 89th minute. He then had the presence of mind to stick his foot out and poke the ball away from an on-rushing Juve player to prevent a certain goal.

Just as Cagliari may have thought they had done enough to secure the point, up stepped Matri in the 90th minute to finish coolly from close range as a clearance ricocheted into his path on the penalty spot.

Juventus claimed all three points with the last kick of the game as Giovinco ran in on goal and slotted past the goalkeeper only for Vucinic to tap it in.

Cagliari have now gone eight games without a win and have lost their last four in a row. Juventus are 10 points clear at the top of Serie A and have won their last six games crowning themselves winter champions. Though there is half a season left, Juve will be eyeing the title as the last seven winter champs have all gone on to lift the Scudetto.

In Friday's other Serie A match, Pescara climbed out of the drop zone after Romulo Togni netted his first league goal with a stoppage-time free kick to seal a 2-1 home win over Catania.