A Cristiano Ronaldo penalty was just about enough to earn Juventus a narrow 1-0 win over Torino at the Stadio Olimpico Grande Torino.
The first half proved to have very few talking points, with Cristiano Ronaldo going closest for either side, his effort well saved by Salvatore Sirigu. Other than that, both sides enjoyed plenty of possession whilst remaining strong in defence.
The second half seemed to be following a similar pattern to that of the first until a mistake at the back for Torino. Simeone Zaza attempted to pass the ball back to substitute goalkeeper Salvador Ichazo however he under hit the pass which Mario Mandzukic anticipated, with the keeper bringing down the Croatian international in the box.
The referee awarded the penalty, which Ronaldo duly dispatched to give Juventus the lead. They then thought they'd doubled their lead just two minutes later after Mandzukic got on the end of Miralem Pjanic's freekick – which deflected off Ronaldo before the Croat tucked the ball home – but the goal was then disallowed by VAR with Ronaldo judged to have been offside.
Juve were able to see the rest of the game out and picked up a valuable three points in the Turin derby.
Starting XI: Sirigu (6); Izzo (7), N'Koulou (6), Djidji (6); Aina (6), Baselli (7), Rincon (5), Meite (6), Ansaldi (6); Zaza (6), Belotti (7).
Substitutes: Ichazo (6), Parigini (6), Berenguer (N/A).
Key Talking Point
Juventus have made a habit of blowing teams away this season with their ruthless style of play, but they made hard work of it today. They offered very little in the first half and seemed to be a little startled by Torino's willingness to offer them very little time on the ball as well as venturing forward when they got the chance.
Their goal also came with an element for fortune, Torino creating their own downfall with Zaza's poor back pass. Once they got themselves in front they took control of the game and looked much more like the Juventus we've grown to expect in recent times, although it took them a good hour to pick up the pace.
Max Allegri will be delighted with the three points and the derby win, but there'll be plenty for him and his team to work on during the week as they were far from their fluid best on the night.
Starting XI: Perin (7); De Sciglio (7), Bonucci (7), Chiellini (8*), Sandro (8); Can (7), Pjanic (7), Matuidi (7); Dybala (6), Mandzukic (7), Ronaldo (8).
STAR MAN - With his side struggling to create anything going forward, Giorgio Chiellini stepped up for his team when they really needed him. Torino didn't sit back and hold out for a draw like many of Juventus' opponents have done this season, they came out and attacked them but Chiellini dealt with everything that was thrown at him.
Another Chiellini clinic. He's an absolute beast— Slenderman (@jakawiti) December 15, 2018
He showed that even at the age of 34 he is still one of the best defenders in world football and on a night of few positives for Juventus fans, they'll at least be thankful they have the Italian in their back line.
WORST PLAYER - On a night where Juventus as a team were far from their best, Paulo Dybala had a particularly quiet night. Having scored 22 goals last season in Serie A he's struggled this season having scored just two goals all campaign.
Whether it's the departure of his former strike partner Gonzalo Higuaín or the arrival of such a big figure of Ronaldo in the summer is yet to be known, but Dybala's struggles in front of goals continued against Torino and he'll certainly be hoping he can find the back of the net sooner rather than later. In the meantime, he'll want to forget this match in a hurry.
Despite their spirited performance, it was Torino's first loss in five games and they'll be hoping to pick themselves up and dust themselves off as they prepare to travel to face Sassuolo on Saturday afternoon.
As for Juventus, they were far from their best on the night and Allegri will certainly be looking for an improved performance when they host Roma on Saturday night.