Serie A leaders Juventus earned a 1-0 home victory over AS Roma thanks to a first-half goal from Mario Mandzukic, a result that stretched the club`s advantage over second-placed Napoli to eight points.
Juve answered head coach Massimiliano Allegri`s call for a more aggressive play at the Allianz Stadium here on Saturday, employing a high press that nearly led to goals in the first half hour by Alex Sandro and Cristiano Ronaldo, Efe news reported.
Only outstanding net minding by Robin Olsen kept the game scoreless in the early going, but he was unable to stop a bouncing header by Mandzukic in the 34th minute.
The Croatian once again showed his outstanding ability in the air on the play, using his strength to beat a defender to a long cross by defender Mattia De Sciglio.
Mandzukic, who scored his eighth goal of the league season, is well on his way to topping his personal mark for goals in a Serie A campaign (10 in 2015-2016).
Olsen continued to shine between the uprights in the second half, saving two close-range shots by Ronaldo to keep the score 1-0 and increase the Portuguese superstar`s frustration.
But the Turin club showed they could put up a defensive wall as well, with Wojciech Szczesny diving to save a potentially game-tying header by Bryan Cristante in the 89th minute.
The hosts then appeared to get a second goal from Douglas Costa in second-half injury time off an assist from Ronaldo, but the referee said Juve`s Blaise Matuidi had fouled Roma`s Nicolo Zaniolo beforehand and waved it off.
It was a controversial call because the foul in question happened well before the goal was scored.
With the win, seven-time defending champion Juve now have 49 points in what has been a near-perfect beginning to their Serie A season (16 wins, one draw and no losses).
Roma, who advanced to the Champions League semi-finals last season, have gotten off to a disappointing start in Serie A and are currently in 10th place with 24 points.