Morata winner puts Juve on the brink

Juventus moved within touching distance of a fifth straight Scudetto after they beat Fiorentina 2-1 at the Juventus Stadium on Sunday night.

The Serie A leaders looked on course to claim a ninth consecutive win as they entered the closing stages of the match a goal to the good, thanks to Mario Mandzukic's first-half strike.

But La Viola finally responded nine minutes from time with an equaliser from Nikola Kalinic to seemingly put an end to the Bianconeri's fine run.

Alvaro Morata and Gigi Buffon had other ideas, however, as the former fired Juve back in front two minutes later before the latter saved Kalinic's penalty at the death to secure victory that could see them retain the league title if second-placed Napoli fail to beat Roma on Monday.

The visitors weren't about to roll over for the defending champions and they were unlucky to be trailing at the break.

Massimiliano Allegri's side had the ball in the back of the net on 16 minutes, but Sami Khedira was correctly ruled offside as he steered home Mandzukic's flick-on.

Four minutes later the Florence outfit thought they had broken the deadlock when Josip Ilicic played in Federico Bernardeschi to clip the ball past Buffon, but the striker was adjudged to have strayed offside, although TV replays suggested otherwise.

Paulo Sousa's men continued to pile on the pressure, with Bernardeschi and Cristian Tello forcing saves out of Buffon, who then saw Milan Badelj's drilled effort fly just wide.

However, Juve took the lead against the run of play on 39 minutes from Khedira's cross, which was guided into the path of Mandzukic by the head of Paul Pogba, and the striker fired home on the volley from 12 yards out.

La Viola went in search of a quick response and Bernardeschi tested Buffon with a low shot just before half-time, while Kalinic and Mauro Zarate forced the veteran keeper into diving saves to keep out their respective efforts during the second half.

The pressure finally paid off on 82 minutes when a mistake from Leonardo Bonucci let Zarate in and he teed up Kalinic, whose fierce strike from the edge of the area flew past Buffon.

But there was no time to celebrate the equaliser as the hosts hit back swiftly through Morata, who prodded home Patrice Evra's driven ball in from close range.

More drama was to come, however, as Kalinic earned his team a soft penalty in the final minute after going to ground under a challenge from Juan Cuadrado. Buffon was having none of it, though, as he saved Kalinic's spot-kick and denied Bernardeschi on the rebound to secure victory, although the keeper survived a scare in stoppage time as Kalinic steered his header against the crossbar.

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