Confidence was low for both sides, the Bianconeri fresh from a home defeat to Inter that ruled them out of the title race, while the Sardinians had lost four on the bounce and sat just above the relegation zone. Alvaro Morata and Mattia De Sciglio were suspended, with Manuel Locatelli, Weston McKennie, Federico Chiesa, Kaio Jorge and Marley Ake injured. Alberto Grassi sat out a ban, joining Edoardo Goldaniga, Luca Ceppitelli, Nahitan Nandez and Kevin Strootman in the stands, but Leonardo Pavoletti and Razvan Marin returned after COVID.
After 10 minutes of almost total Juve possession, Cagliari took the lead. Marin tackled Paulo Dybala in his own half, sprinted forward, rolled across for Joao Pedro to take a touch and smash into the far top corner from just inside the box.
Luca Pellegrini had the ball in the net with a decisive deflection off Adrien Rabiot to wrong-foot Alessio Cragno on 23 minutes. However, it was disallowed via VAR because Rabiot deflected it with his elbow.
Dybala’s free kick skimmed the near top corner, then the Argentine’s volley was straight at Cragno, while Rabiot fired over from a promising position after Leonardo Pavoletti gave it away cheaply.
Cragno fingertipped a Juan Cuadrado screamer round the near post, but Juventus equalised on the resulting corner when Cuadrado floated a ball onto the head of Matthijs de Ligt at the back post, steering it back across the goalkeeper.
Juve had another goal disallowed within two minutes of the restart, as Giorgio Chiellini was offside when redirecting a scuffed shot.
Chiellini’s sensational slide-rule pass released Dybala only for La Joya to fire over, while Vlahovic hit the side-netting from a tricky angle.
Juventus introduced Federico Bernardeschi and moved to a 4-2-3-1 formation. Cuadrado’s shot flashed across the face of goal and Vlahovic tested Cragno after squirming between defenders.
Vlahovic was working very hard against a crowd of Cagliari defenders and it paid off in the end. He ran onto a Dybala through ball, Giorgio Altare’s sliding tackle ended up almost kicking it onto Vlahovic’s boot to toe-poke in from close range.
Raoul Bellanova saw his strike charged down, as Juve held out in defence for the final stages.
Cagliari 1-2 Juventus
Joao Pedro 10 (C), De Ligt 45 (J), Vlahovic 75 (J)