Juventus confirmed their place in the Champions League knockout stages when they commence next year, but only after securing an unconvincing 2-1 victory over Ferencvaros at the Juventus Stadium on Tuesday night.
The visitors were the first to score in the Group G clash through winger Myrto Uzuni, but Cristiano Ronaldo drew the Bianconeri level and Alvaro Morata scored in injury time to clinch a vital three points.
Despite losing 4-1 in Budapest three weeks ago, the Hungarian side must have taken confidence from their last visit to Turin – defeating the Old Lady to clinch the 1965 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup – as they took a far more proactive approach in attack than previously.
With group leaders Barcelona defeating Dynamo Kiev 4-0 in Ukraine, the goal also secured Juventus’ progress to the Last 16 and keep alive hopes of beating the Spanish side to top spot.
Andrea Pirlo’s men were somewhat taken aback by the opposition’s tactics, Ferencvaros took the lead on 19 minutes when Uzuni stabbed a deflected Tokmuc Nguen cross past Wojciech Szczesny from close range, with the hosts struggling to threaten.
However, although midfielder Oleksandr Zubkov saw an effort from distance deflected wide moments later, it was almost inevitable that the side with the worst defensive record in the competition before kick-off would eventually concede.
Shortly after having a goal ruled out for offside, Ronaldo received the ball just outside the box, moved infield infield and unleashed a powerful left-footed drive into the bottom corner 10 minutes before the break.
The equaliser did little to subdue Ferencvaros when the sides returned for the second period, though, with them continuing to put pressure on the reigning Serie A champions, but were nearly punished when Federico Bernardeschi struck the post.
On 69 minutes Juventus looked certain to score again through Ronaldo after being slid in by substitute Morata, only for goalkeeper Denes Dibusz to produce an impressive save at the Portuguese international’s feet.
The Bianconeri continued to edge ever closer to a winner as the minutes ticked by and it was soon Morata himself through on goal, but followed Bernardeschi by hitting the upright with his shot.
Morata had his goal two minutes into injury time, though, as Juan Cuadrado crossed from the right wing and, while he headed directly at Dibusz, the ball trickled into beyond him for the winner.