Juventus dominated their match with Fiorentina, but only squeezed a 2-1 win after wasteful finishing.
This was always one of the biggest grudge matches in Serie A and there was a lot at stake on this Tuesday night. The opener to the midweek round saw Juve fall off the top spot with one win from five games, even if they were still unbeaten, while Viola fans called for Sinisa Mihajlovic to be sacked after three points from the last four matches.
Arturo Vidal returned from injury to start in an adjusted tactical system and pink strip, though Gigi Buffon and Emanuele Giaccherini were sidelined and Milos Krasic sent to the stands. Fiorentina had Riccardo Montolivo suspended, joining the injured Per Kroldrup and Mattia Cassani. Alberto Gilardino was only fit for the bench, Houssine Kharja drafted in to midfield.
Simone Pepe tested Artur Boruc after three minutes, then the Polish goalkeeper palmed a Claudio Marchisio snapshot over the bar.
Pepe had a fantastic chance set up by Alessandro Matri's backheel flick, but horribly miscued when unmarked outside the box. Mirko Vucinic did much the same, then fired wide from the D.
Some horrible defending allowed Juventus to take the lead. The Fiorentina squad stood still as an Andrea Pirlo corner was whipped in for Vidal's effort and Leonardo Bonucci was undisturbed to pounce on Boruc's short save.
Matri volleyed well over from Vidal's cross in a very promising position, then Boruc sprinted off his line to charge down Pepe, who sprung the offside trap from a slide-rule pass.
Boruc smothered a deflected Vucinic attempt at the near post, while Matri came sliding in for Pepe's low cross, put out for a corner by Alessandro Gamberini's desperate intervention.
Vucinic was left unmarked to meet another corner, but didn't put enough power on the shot to trouble Boruc. The former Roma striker did get a good finish away after a give-and-go with Vidal, but the angled drive was flashed across the face of goal.
In first half stoppages, Andrea Barzagli had a strong run down the right and his cross was prodded into Boruc's arms by Matri.
Gilardino came on for the second half, switching to a 4-2-3-1 system, and within 60 seconds Marco Storari had been forced into his first save, as Jovetic headed a corner into the ground that was going under the bar. The team talk must've shaken the walls, as Fiorentina had a very different attitude.
Fiorentina made Juve pay for their wasteful first half finishing by drawing level. Gilardino got down the right and pulled back for Juan Manuel Vargas, who flicked it on for the Jovetic screamer from the D. It was the first goal the Viola have scored on their travels this season.
Juventus restored their advantage with Matri, though much of the credit must go to Pepe. The winger battled while surrounded by five Viola players to prod through a pass releasing Matri, who finished it off firmly.
Matri nearly got a second soon after, but his wonderful curler from the edge of the box brought an equally splendid flying save out of Boruc.