An Angel Di Maria debut goal and a Dusan Vlahovic brace helped Juventus beat Sassuolo 3-0 in their Serie A opener.
Di Maria was found by Alex Sandro deep into the visitors’ penalty box and watched his volley drive into the ground before bouncing over Andrea Consigli’s head to break the deadlock for the hosts.
Vlahovic soon got in on the action, and did excellently to force a foul out of Gian Marco Ferrari to win a penalty on the stroke of halftime. He made no mistake from the spot, and fired his spot kick straight down the middle to double Juventus’ lead.
Juventus stretched their advantage further when Di Maria capitalised on a catastrophic Sassuolo error on the edge of the box.
The Argentine pounced on the loose ball and found Vlahovic, who slotted the ball beyond Consigli for his second goal of the game.
It wasn’t a walk in the park for Juventus, who were troubled a number of times in the opening 20 minutes of the game, but goalkeeper Mattia Perin impressed in the absence of Wojciech Szczesny to keep out a string of Sassuolo efforts early on.
Juventus took their foot off the gas towards the end of the second half, as they went on to wrap up all three points in their opening game.
TALKING POINT – JUVENTUS OFF TO A WINNING START
It was important for Juventus to get off to a good start after a disappointing 2021/22 campaign. Despite securing Champions League football fairly comfortably in the end, they finished 16 points adrift from title rivals AC Milan, with Inter Milan in second and Napoli in third place out of sight by the end of the season.
The pressure was on Massimiliano Allegri’s side from the off with all realistic title contenders winning their opening games, so it was crucial for Juventus to avoid an early slip-up and find themselves playing catch-up from day one.
They started the game poorly, but quickly found themselves with a two-goal cushion to settle any nerves, before delivering an encouraging all-round performance.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH – ANGEL DI MARIA
Dusan Vlahovic may steal the headlines with his brace to become the highest-scoring Serbian in Serie A history, but it was Angel Di Maria who was faultless on the night, impressing on his Juventus debut.
The Argentine put in one of those displays that got the crowd off of their feet and oozed quality every time he got on the ball. Not only did he take his goal spectacularly, he also grabbed the assist for Vlahovic’s second goal, after he read a loose ball well to dismantle a Sassuolo error at the back and put the ball on a plate for the Serbian.
JUVENTUS: Perin 8, Danilo 7, Bonucci 6, Bremer 7, Alex Sandro 7, Cuadrado 7, Zakaria 6, Locatelli 6, McKennie 6, Di Maria 8, Vlahovic 8
Subs: De Sciglio 5, Soule 5, Kostic 6, Mirett 5i, Rovella 5
SASSUOLO: Consigli 5, Muldur N/A, Ayhan 5, Ferrari 4, Rogerio 5, Frattesi 6, Henrique 5, Thorstvedt 6, Berardi 6, Defrel 5, Kyriakopoulos 4
Subs: Toljan 5, Harroui N/A, Raspadori 5, Ceide N/A, Pinamonti 5
20’ – PERIN CALLED INTO ACTION TWICE! He denies a Defrel effort from close-range, before keeping out a speculative effort from outside the box. Juventus look really uncomfortable and their fans are making their feelings known.
26’ – GOAL! JUVENTUS 1-0 SASSUOLO (DI MARIA): Sandro delivers a pinpoint cross which Di Maria meets deep into the penalty area, and fires a volley into the ground which bounces over the goalkeeper’s head and into the back of the net.
41’ – JUVENTUS PENALTY! Ferrari brings down Vlahovic in the box and Juventus have a chance to double their lead!
43’ – GOAL! JUVENTUS 2-0 SASSUOLO (VLAHOVIC): Vlahovic makes no mistake and smashes the ball down the middle to open his account for the season!
50’ – GOAL! JUVENTUS 3-0 SASSUOLO (VLAHOVIC): It’s so sloppy from Sassuolo, they’ve given the ball away on the edge of the box and it’s Di Maria who capitalises on a loose ball. He then finds Vlahovic, who makes no mistake from close-range. 3-0 Juventus.