Juventus should have beaten Lazio in Turin but were forced to settle for a goalless draw as the Serie A leaders failed to win for just the third time this season.
Juve were by far the dominant force but a combination of stout defending, excellent goalkeeping, poor finishing and the woodwork meant fifth-placed Lazio were able to shut the defending champions out.
The first half stayed goalless and, while it was not the end-to-end fare of Juve’s 6-1 win at Pescara last time out, the hosts should have gone ahead.
They were making all the running, Lazio sitting disappointingly deep and largely bypassing the midfield with speculative long balls as the Bianconeri – all in black – dominated possession.
Federico Marchetti did well to keep out an audacious effort from Kwadwo Asamoah, before earning his coin to parry a Sebastian Giovinco bicycle kick and managing to close down Fabio Quagliarella on the rebound.
Just after the half-hour mark Giovinco put wide after a nice touch on the edge of the box before, after an even better first touch took out two defenders, somehow missing an easier finish.
Down the other end the most action Gianluigi Buffon saw was gathering a bouncing long ball, as Miroslav Klose resorted to some niggly exchanges with Giorgio Chiellini as he toiled to get on the ball.
The second half was a similar affair as Juve bossed possession while Lazio tried to soak it up.
It hardly made for a spectacle, with few chances until just after the hour, when Marchetti made a fantastic save after the relatively quiet Quagliarella diverted an Arturo Vidal shot towards goal, the Lazio shot-stopper making a superb adjustment to keep it out.
That seemed to spark Juventus somewhat, as the home side went close with Marchetti and Abdoulay Konko denying Claudio Marchisio as the pressure increased.
All-action midfielders Paul Pogba and Asamoah were becoming increasingly influential as their dynamism and stamina started to compensate for the suspended Andrea Pirlo’s absence.
The woodwork spared Lazio too, as Leonardo Bonucci’s power header rattled off the bar after yet another corner.
The latter stages saw the hosts continue to pile on the pressure but they lacked a cutting edge, with the off-colour Quagliarella replaced by Alessandro Matri, with both he and Nicklas Bendtner barely having an impact.
Marchetti made another good stop from Marchetti and, as the referee signalled five minutes injury time for what he perceived as Lazio time-wasting, Juve continued to plug away for a winner.
But it never came and Juve will have to content themselves with the knowledge that, five points clear of Internazionale, they will stay top for at least another week.
Lazio, meanwhile, remain in fifth with 23 points from 13 matches.
- Sports & Recreation
- Federico Marchetti
- Fabio Quagliarella