Mario Mandzukic’s first Juventus goal spared the Italian champions’ blushes as they edged Lechia Gdansk 2-1 in Poland.
The in-demand Paul Pogba powered home a header in just the fourth minute to suggest the Turin giants were on for a big win.
That failed to materialise, though, as a new Juve strikeforce of Simone Zaza and Paulo Dybala struggled before the hosts grabbed a deserved equaliser late on through Adam Buksa.
But Mandzukic – who joined from Atletico Madrid last month – had the final say, lashing home in the final minute.
As well as struggles up front, Giorgio Chiellini and Alvaro Morata limping out of Wednesday’s friendly could cause concern for Juve coach Massimiliano Allegri – although both players’ withdrawals seemed to be only precautionary.
Juve’s fast start was rounded off by a thumping header from Pogba, although positivity was tempered as Chiellini was forced off after just eight minutes.
The Frenchman was buoyed by opening the scoring, though, and sent a dipping 25-yard effort in that Gdansk goalkeeper Lukasz Budzilek did well to tip around his left-hand post, and he again stood firm to smother Dybala after he twisted and turned towards goal.
Juve were struggling to fire on all cylinders, however, and the hosts twice went close before the interval. Bartlomiej Pawlowski clipped the base of Gianluigi Buffon’s right-hand post and the captain had to be alert to tip over a swerving long-range free-kick from Piotr Wisniewski.
Mandzukic was a half-time substitute along with Alvaro Morata and the pair initially struggled to connect, before Buksa robbed young midfielder Andres Tello and drove forward to score a neat equaliser.
As it looked as though Juve would limp to a draw, Mandzukic displayed strength to shrug off his marker from a right-wing cross and power home with his left foot.
Juve round off their pre-season preparations with a trip to Marseille on Saturday before taking on Lazio in next weekend’s Supercoppa Italiana.
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!