Friday, December 15, 2017

Juventus 3 Chievo 0: Allegri´s men enjoy winning Barca warm-up

SoccerNews in Serie A 9 Sep 2017

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Juventus warmed up for Tuesday’s Champions League showdown with Barcelona by beating Chievo 3-0 in Serie A.

The reigning champions boast a remarkable head-to-head record against Saturday’s opponents, which now shows 21 wins and only one defeat in 29 meetings following Saturday’s Turin triumph.

Quality, rather than luck, may well be the decisive factor in that one-sided history, but still fortune played a part in this meeting, with Perparim Hetemaj’s 17th-minute own goal breaking the deadlock.

Massimiliano Allegri’s side – without the assured presence of Giorgio Chiellini (calf) – doubled their lead just before the hour mark, Gonzalo Higuain providing the emphatic finish from Miralem Pjanic’s assist.

When Paulo Dybala came off the bench to score his fifth goal in three top-flight games, there was no way back for Chievo.

The sight of Mario Mandzukic going off injured late on was the only downside for Allegri, as Juve made it three out of three in the league this season ahead of the start of their bid to assuage the pain of last season’s Champions League final loss.

The hosts made the early running and some neat set-up play from Pjanic afforded Mandzukic the chance to shoot, but the Croatian fired his half-volley over the crossbar from the edge of the box.

But they required a helping hand to move ahead, with Hetemaj heading Pjanic’s teasing free-kick past the helpless Stefano Sorrentino.

Chievo tried to mount a swift response, but Manuel Pucciarelli dragged his effort well wide, before Sorrentino made a smart stop from Stephan Lichtsteiner’s cross-cum-shot at the other end.

With the contest being played at a frenetic pace, Wojciech Szczesny was soon called into action to keep out Ivan Radovanovic’s low drive from a set-piece and Pjanic was denied from long range a minute later.

An off-balance Pucciarelli got away a shot from inside the box to force Szczesny down to his right as Chievo underlined their attacking threat once more just prior to the break.

Allegri introduced Dybala early in the second half, with the forward looking to build on his four goals in the opening two league games, but it was Argentina team-mate Higuain who was next on the scoresheet.

Pjanic’s knockdown found the former Real Madrid striker, who blasted a powerful finish beyond Sorrentino.

Dybala was certainly making his presence felt, though, and he sent a 70th-minute attempt skidding just wide of the target following some fine footwork.

His goal deservedly arrived after Mandzukic had hobbled off injured, Dybala sliding a neat finish into the bottom-right corner to put the seal on it ahead of the midweek trip to Camp Nou.

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