MILAN (AP) — Defending champion Juventus scored two stoppage-time goals to snatch a controversial 3-1 win over 10-man Cagliari in Serie A on Friday.
Mirko Vucinic sealed the result following two goals from former Cagliari striker Alessandro Matri — the decisive second after an apparent handball by teammate Arturo Vidal. "Tonight's refereeing was really poor," Cagliari President Massimo Cellino said. "My team put their hearts into the game and we came here with our heads held high. We can't complain, seeing as we were against a team which doesn't behave in a sporting manner.
"I don't want to be part anymore of this type of football, which has disgusted me. I thought everything had changed but instead it seems that a leopard never changes its spots." Mauricio Pinilla gave Cagliari a surprise lead with a penalty in the 16th minute.
Cagliari defender Davide Astori was sent off in the 65th for a second yellow card. Seconds earlier, Juventus had hit the post and seen a penalty claim turned down. Vidal, who had conceded Cagliari's penalty, missed a spot kick of his own in the 70th minute.
There were just 41 Cagliari fans present after the home game was switched was switched from Cagliari's Is Arenas Stadium to Parma, more than 780 kilometers away. Juventus is now 10 points ahead of second-placed Inter Milan, which faces Genoa on Saturday, ahead of the winter break.
"It's an important signal for the others who are playing tomorrow," Matri said. "They will be playing with extra pressure now. "Cagliari is a team which will always remain in my heart, it is the club which kick-started my career, which made my name and so I will always be grateful for that."
Cagliari had picked up just one point from its last five Serie A meetings against Juventus, but it took the lead after Vidal tripped Marco Sau on the far left of the area. Pinilla fired a powerful spot kick into the top left corner giving Gianluigi Buffon no chance, even though the Juventus goalkeeper went the right way.
Juventus should have leveled immediately after the hour mark. Leonardo Bonucci's powerful header crashed off the left post and Matri tried to tap in but Cagliari goalkeeper Michael Agazzi pulled off a superb save.
Kwadwo Asamoah was pushed as he tried to head in the rebound and the Juventus players surrounded the referee appealing for a penalty, but nothing was given. Moments later Cagliari was reduced to 10 men when Astori was shown a second yellow and dismissed following a foul on Sebastian Giovinco.
The Juventus forward then won a penalty when he was tripped by Daniele Del Fabro but Vidal blasted his spot kick over the bar. It is the third penalty — out of six — that Juventus has missed this season, and Vidal's second error from the spot.
Juventus leveled 10 minutes from time through Matri, who played for Cagliari for four years before moving to the Turin side in 2011. As the Bianconeri pressed for the winner, Agazzi pulled off several stunning saves, including one at point-blank range to deny Asamoah.
However, he could do nothing in the second minute of injury timem, when Juventus controversially took the lead. Nene's attempted clearance hit Vidal's hand and the rebound fell to Matri to slot home.
Vucinic then tapped in Giovinco's shot three minutes later. Struggling Pescara also scored a stoppage-time winner to beat Catania 2-1, ending a run of five consecutive defeats. Romulo Togni whipped in a free-kick from 25 meters — his first goal in Serie A — in the fifth minute of added time. The Brazilian midfielder burst into tears afterward.
Mervan Celik had put Pescara in front against the run of play in the 24th minute, sending a low drive from just outside the area into the bottom left corner. However, Pablo Barrientos volleyed in the equalizer 12 minutes later.
Catania's Lucas Castro saw a diagonal shot crash off the left post in the 12th minute, while teammate Giovanni Marchese had a goal harshly ruled out for offside early in the second half.