Just when Pirlo's dismissal was evident the man who has been blamed for all of Juventus's shortcomings this season rescues the Old Lady from the dead. A Penalty kick in the 81st minute then the winner in the 89th minute rescued Juventus with three very crucial points and keep their Champions League spot in play with 69 points and leaping into second place, ahead of bitter rivals Milan who they face next week.
The pressure was on Andrea Pirlo, with reports he could even be sacked if he failed to win here, as even a Champions League spot was at risk. Alvaro Morata was not fully fit, with Federico Chiesa and Merih Demiral out, so Paulo Dybala partnered Cristiano Ronaldo. The Friulani had Juan Musso suspended, so Simone Scuffet made his first Serie A start since October 2018, but Jayden Braaf, Ilija Nestorovski, Gerard Deulofeu, Ignacio Pussetto, and Gerard Deulofeu were injured.
Juve was caught napping when Rodrigo De Paul took a free-kick quickly, sending Nahuel Molina down the right for a ferocious right-foot strike that squirmed in despite Wojciech Szczesny getting something on it.
Udinese has not yet conceded from a corner yet this season and that record was almost broken on 27 minutes when Weston McKennie turned a diving header wide from six yards.
Scuffet got down well to stop a deflected Paulo Dybala effort, while Matthijs de Ligt had a shot charged down and his follow-up was nodded wide by Cristiano Ronaldo.
Udinese started the second half well and Tolgay Arslan drilled just wide, while Ronaldo had a half-hearted attempt from distance smothered.
Jens Stryger-Larsen saw his splendid curler flash wide, but just as Juventus seemed unlikely to find a way through, Udinese was punished for a naïve error.
De Paul stuck out an elbow in the wall to deflect Ronaldo’s free-kick and it was an inevitable penalty, the fifth game in a row that Udinese have given away a spot-kick. Ronaldo wasn’t going to turn that gift down and smashed the spot-kick past Scuffet.
Juve could smell blood and pounced for the kill, as Adrien Rabiot whipped a cross to the back post for Ronaldo’s header, surprising Scuffet from point-blank range. The way Andrea Pirlo sprinted off the touchline to celebrate showed how important this was to their season, as it sends them into joint second place with Atalanta and Milan.