Christian Poulsen struck deep into injury time to earn Juventus a crucial 2-1 victory at Catania on Sunday to keep their title hopes alive.
Juve looked on the brink of slipping to nine points behind leaders Inter, who won 3-0 at Lecce on Saturday, as the clock ticked down with the scores at 1-1.
Vincenzo Iaquinta had given the Turin giants an early lead before he was sent off but Takayuki Morimoto’s second half equalizer looked to have stolen a share of the spoils for the hosts before Poulsen’s late winner that cut the deficit to Inter to seven points.
“We were looking to find ourselves, in the last [two] games we had lost our usual equilibrium that had allowed us to do well,” Juve coach Claudio Ranieri said.
“Today we played well, and with 10 against 11 against a Catania that never let up, he said. “Our problem is not scoring goals ... our problem is the ones we concede too easily and our lack of compactness.”
Juventus were off to a great start as Iaquinta gave them the lead on 11 minutes when he headed home Mauro Camoranesi’s free-kick from just six yards out after his marker chose to flop to the floor looking for a foul rather than challenge the former Udinese man in the air.
Iaquinta’s celebrations were short lived though as within 90 seconds he had received his marching orders.
First he was booked for removing his shirt while celebrating his goal and then within seconds of the restart he went into a challenge with his studs up to earn a second yellow card.
There were still 77 minutes to hold out and the enormity of their challenge was soon apparent as Gianluigi Buffon made a brilliant point-blank save from an Alessandro Potenza header.
Juve remained dangerous and just before the break Amauri diverted a Pavel Nedved free-kick over the bar with Albano Bizarri well beaten.
However, the Sicilians equalized just six minutes into the second period. Buffon made another great save from Giuseppe Mascara’s header but couldn’t stop Morimoto’s follow up.
Juve were under the cosh and Davide Baiocco clipped the outside of the post with a clever flick from Mascara’s corner.
Despite their numerical disadvantage Juve poured forward late on and Amauri headed Nedved’s free-kick back across goal for the unmarked Poulsen to poke home.
Fiorentina moved up to fourth after Alberto Gilardino scored a last minute winner against 10-man Lazio, for whom Lorenzo De Silvestri was sent off in the first half.
Lazio goalkeeper Fernando Muslera failed to hold Adrian Mutu’s shot and Gilardino swept home the rebound.
AS Roma moved into fifth above Genoa after beating their Champions League-chasing rivals 3-0 in the capital.
Their first goal was a stunning team effort with Cicinho starting the move which passed through Matteo Brighi, Francesco Totti and Simone Perrotta before the Brazilian ended the move he started by popping up to tap home.
Mirko Vucinic thrashed home Daniele Di Rossi’s chip into the box with an unstoppable left-foot volley for the second goal and Brazilian Julio Baptista wrapped up the win in injury time with a powerful drive from just outside the box.
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