ALLIANZ STADIUM (Turin) – It had to be him, just as Juventus looked to be heading for a draw Cristiano Ronaldo stepped up to score a late penalty and give the Bianconeri a 2-1 win over Genoa.
Leonardo Bonucci headed Juventus into the lead just after the half hour, but Christian Kouame levelled with a fortuitous effort 40 minutes in.
Francesco Cassato made life even more difficult when he was given his marching orders moments into the second half, and Genoa substitute was also given a red card by referee Antonio Giua for his protestations from the bench.
In the final moments of the game Adrien Rabiot was also sent off for a second yellow card, Ronaldo had a goal ruled out for offside before scoring his fifth of the Serie A season.
As a result, leapfrog Inter and retake top spot in Serie A and are now one point ahead of the Nerazzurri.
The first real chance on goal fell to Andrea Pinamonti, but his tame shot was easily saved by Gianluigi Buffon. Meanwhile at the other end, Paulo Dybala’s chest and volley forced a brilliant save from Ionut Radu.
Dybala curled an effort high over the bar, before Cristiano Ronaldo tested Radu from distance.
Radu was prevented Dybala from giving Juve the lead after the Argentine raced into the box, held off the defender and when he looked certain to slot into the far corner, Genoa’s No.97 pulled off a great low stop.
That save was merely in vein moments later as Juventus took the lead when Radu came out to punch a corner away, but was beaten to the ball by Bonucci who headed home.
Buffon was called into action as he parried a Lasse Schone freekick. However, Genoa were back on level terms just before the break as Kouame mistimed a shot from the edge of the area, which deflected onto his standing leg, wrongfooting Buffon and trundling into he net.
Early in the second half Genoa were reduced to 10 men when Cassata received a second yellow card for pulling back Dybala.
Ronaldo and Dybala both tried their luck from range, but Radu was equal to the shots. While Adrien Rabiot flashed a cross across goal.
Juventus’ onslaught of the Genoa goal continued and Federico Bernardeschi was next to have a go, but again Radu was equal to the strike, with the Juventus frontman firing just wide a couple of minutes later.
With Juventus unable to breakthrough a resolute Genoa backline, their task was made a little more taxing when Rabiot was also sent for an early bath after collecting two yellow cards.
And just as Juventus looked to be heading for a draw, Ronaldo poked home a Juan Cuadrado cross to send the Allianz Stadium wild, but it was ruled out for offside.
But more drama was to follow as Antonio Sanabria tripped the No.7 in the penalty area and the Portuguese stepped up