Juve turn up heat on Napoli as Costa strike sees off stubborn Genoa
Mattia Perin conceded for the first time in over a month.
Douglas Costa scored the only goal as Juventus closed to within a point of Serie A leaders Napoli following a workmanlike 1-0 victory over Genoa.
In their first appointment after the winter break, Massimiliano Allegri’s men took an early lead through Bayern Munich loanee Costa, but toiled in vain to rubber-stamp the three points, although stingy Genoa offered little in the way of rebellion at Allianz Stadium.
Their goalkeeper Mattia Perin, who heading into this match had not conceded in his four previous league outings, started well in Turin by keeping out Miralem Pjanic’s swerving free-kick.
But in the 16th minute Costa spoiled that flawless run by getting on the end of Mario Mandzukic’s run to poke in the opener.
Towards the hour mark Costa combined well with his fellow Brazilian Alex Sandro to allow the left-back to lash a drive just wide of Perin’s goal.
Juve tried to turn the screw and Stephan Lichtsteiner was unlucky to see his cross-shot stay out before Sami Khedira was denied on the follow-up.
The Bianconeri remained frustrated in their efforts to score a second match-killing goal and, right at the death, Blaise Matuidi squandered a gilt-edged opportunity after Gonzalo Higuain set him up.