Leonardo Bonucci marked his 35th birthday with two goals as Juventus made hard work of a 2-1 win over bottom side Venezia to all but secure a top-four finish in Serie A.

The Bianconeri had taken just one point from their previous two matches at the Allianz Stadium but did enough to claim victory against Venezia, who have now lost nine in a row.

Full debutant Fabio Miretti played a big part in Bonucci's headed opener inside seven minutes, but Juve were pegged back through a Mattia Aramu strike 19 minutes from time.

However, Bonucci bundled in a late winner to ensure that his side now require just two points from their remaining three games to keep Roma at bay in the battle for fourth.

 

Juve nearly opened the scoring four minutes in when Luca Pellegrini fired a ferocious strike against the crossbar from range.

The hosts did not have to wait much longer for their breakthrough, though, as Matthijs de Ligt nodded Miretti's delivery back across goal for Bonucci to turn in from close range.

Venezia, who sacked Pablo Zanetti this week and placed Andrea Soncin in temporary charge, took full advantage of Juve's failure to kill off the match through Aramu's long-ranger.

That had Venezia on course for successive 1-1 draws against Juve, only for the Bianconeri to snatch all three points when a corner was not dealt with and went in off Bonucci's shin.

What does it mean? A return to home comforts for Juve – just!

Juve have picked up more points on their travels (35) than they have at home this season (34 with this win) and this was another occasion in which they never truly got going.

Massimiliano Allegri's side have lost just one of their past 21 league games overall and also have a Coppa Italia final with Inter to look forward to later this month.

The immediate priority is nailing down fourth place and, barring a miraculous collapse over their remaining three games, that is as good as achieved.

Leonardo leads the way

Bonucci has now scored five Serie A goals for Juventus this season, which is his best tally in a single campaign.

The veteran Italy international has equalled team-mate Giorgio Chiellini as the defender to have found the net in the most years in the competition since 2000 (13).

Mattia makes his mark

Aramu had gone 14 matches between finding the net in Serie A, with his most recent strike prior to today coming in December's draw with Juventus.

The 26-year-old was Venezia's sole attacking spark, registering all three of his side's attempts on target, including that impressive effort from range.

What's next?

Juventus are back in action on Friday with a trip to Genoa, while Venezia travel to fellow strugglers Salernitana on Thursday.

Juventus' winning run was halted with a 1-1 draw away at lowly Venezia in Saturday's Serie A contest as they failed to truly make up ground on the Champions League places.

Massimiliano Allegri's men had won three games in a row without conceding in all competitions ahead of their trip to Stadio Pier Luigi Penzo, but they were unable to hold onto the first-half lead given to them by Alvaro Morata.

Juve, who lost Paulo Dybala to injury inside 12 minutes, were pegged back by a long-range strike from former Torino midfielder Mattia Aramu 10 minutes into the second half.

The visitors were unable to hit back against a Venezia side that had lost their last three games and conceded 10 goals in the process, meaning they are six points behind fourth-placed Atalanta, who face Hellas Verona on Sunday.


Dybala's replacement Kaio Jorge flicked over from close range and Morata's drive forced a good save out of Sergio Romero before the Spain international managed to find a way through with 32 minutes played.

Luca Pellegrini sent a low cross in from the left and Morata got in front of his marker to flick the ball past Romero, the goal allowed to stand following a VAR check for a possible handball from Federico Bernardeschi in the build-up.

Juan Cuadrado wasted a good chance when firing across the face of goal shortly before the interval and Juve were made to pay as, following a spell of Venezia pressure, Aramu curled in a low first-time shot from range.

Allegri's side failed to create much in way of response, with their one shot on target in the second half summing up their struggles as the contest finished all square.

 

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