Juventus fired back to defeat ten-man Catania 3-1 in Turin today and move back to the top of Serie A ahead of AC Milan's trip to Cesena tomorrow.
Pablo Barrientos gave the Sicilians, who had Marco Motta dismissed in the second half, a shock early lead but goals from Andrea Pirlo, Giorgio Chiellini and Fabio Quagliarella secured the three points.
Juve now lead Milan by two points, having played the same number of games, and brought an end to a run of two straight goalless draws.
"It will be emotional returning to the San Siro but the game is vital for our season so I'm calm," said Pirlo, who scored his first goal for the Old Lady of Turin since a summer move from Milan, where he spent a decade. "It was an important goal tonight because it got us back on level terms."
"We've always played our game it's just that on the last few occasions we struggled to score so the three points were important," Pirlo told SkySport.
The first half was an action-packed and entertaining affair starting with an early header from Juve's Claudio Marchisio that flew just over the crossbar. Catania then gave their hosts two warning signs as Mariano Izco broke from deep only to shoot straight at Gianluigi Buffon before Sergio Almiron gave the veteran goalkeeper some problems with a swerving long-distance effort.
Juve didn't heed the warnings, though, and on four minutes Barrientos turned Pirlo with effortless ease before curling a delightful left-footed shot around Buffon from 20 yards. Juve came firing back, but Marco Borriello's downward header was easy for Tomas Kosicky in the visiting goal.
The equaliser came on 22 minutes as Pirlo curled a free-kick around a badly placed wall to leave Kosicky motionless on his line. Quagliarella hit a rocket from distance that crashed back off the bar.
At the other end, Gonzalo Bergessio played a one-two with Francesco Lodi and crashed his own shot off the woodwork from a tight angle. Kosicky saved a daisy-cutter from Pirlo with Quagliarella shooting the rebound into the side-netting. And, the former Italy forward hit the side-netting again after Borriello teed him up in the box with a cushioned header.
Juve kept on pushing at the start of the second period with Borriello and Quagliarella seeing shots blocked, while Pirlo whipped a free-kick from distance just over the crossbar.
The game turned when Motta, playing against his former employers, picked up a second yellow card for a senseless foul near the halfway line 25 minutes from time. Even so, Catania almost went ahead on the counter attack but Buffon blocked Almiron's fierce low drive.
Then 14 minutes from time Kosicky failed to gather Pirlo's free-kick from the right and Chiellini headed home. Kosicky paid for another error nine minutes from time as his scuffed clearance fell to Pirlo, who played in Quagliarella to beat the goalkeeper.
Somewhat comically, reserve goalkeeper Marco Storari managed to draw blood from both Quagliarella and Simone Pepe with his over-zealous celebrations.