Juventus eased some of the pressure on manager Massimiliano Allegri as they ended a five match winless run by battering Bologna 3-0.
The hosts, who were without the suspended Angel di Maria, took some time to get going against an equally out of form opponent, but finally ran away with the game in the second half.
Both teams were ponderous in the opening exchanges, with chances few and far between thanks to some poor passing in the final third. The hosts took the lead on 24-minutes with the first shot on target, though, as a rapid counter-attack led to Filip Kostic squeezing a pin-point effort into the far corner after being fed by Dusan Vlahovic.
That seemed to lift the pressure off Juventus, and they nearly doubled their lead shortly afterwards, only for Lukasz Skorupski to make a stunning save from Arkadiusz Milik’s close-range volley. Bologna, on the other hand, managed to test Wojciech Szczesny just once before the break as he made a comfortable save from Lorenzo Di Silvestri’s tame back-post header.
The second half started in a similar fashion to the first, with neither team really finding any kind of dominance. The hosts doubled their lead just before the hour, though, when Vlahovic brilliantly met Weston McKennie’s pin-point right-wing cross, sending a towering header into the far corner.
Milik grabbed the third less than four minutes later, almost ripping the net off with a thunderbolt of a volley from inside the box. That completely killed the game off, with Bologna heads dropping and Juve able to take their foot off the gas.
There was still time for Milik to rattle the post with a header, but it mattered not as the hosts picked up just their third league win of the campaign.
TALKING POINT – PRESSURE EASES ON JUVENTUS
There’s no doubt that Juventus’ poor form is the talk of Serie A, and the pressure was on manager Massimiliano Allegri after a run of five games without a victory.
The manager made six changes, including three to his back four, as the host looked to bounce back from a 1-0 defeat to Monza before the international break, but they still showed the weight of that winless run in the opening half.
However, once ‘The Old Lady’ got their second, the shackles came off and they started playing with the kind of care-free abandon that fans have been desperate to see. This could well be a turning point for a famous club who must now take this momentum into a Champions League clash with Maccabi Haifa after losing their opening two group games in the competition.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH
Dusan Vlahovic (Juventus). The striker headed into this game as Juventus’ top scorer this season, but the most recent of his four goals came way back in August, four games ago.
The Serb struck for his country during the international break though, helping them to a 2-0 win over Norway, and he certainly had the bit between his teeth tonight, playing a central role in pretty much every attacking move.
He grabbed the assist for the first, timing and picking his pass to Kostic perfectly, and then ended his club goal drought after the break with a superb back-post header, taking his Serie A tally for the campaign to five in seven appearances.
JUVENTUS: Szczęsny 6; Danilo 7, Bonucci 6, Bremer 6, Alex Sandro 7; Locatelli 6, McKennie 7, Rabiot 7; Kostic 8, Milik 7, Vlahovic 8. Subs: Paredes 6, Cuadrado 6, De Sciglio n/a, Miretti n/a, Kean n/a Subs: Pinsoglio, Perin, Gatti, Rugani. Fabioli, Soule
BOLOGNA: Skorupski 7; De Silvestri 6, Sosa 6, Bonifazi 6, Lykogiannis 6, Orsolini 5, Schouten 6, Soriana 5, Dominguez 5, Sansone 6; Arnautovic 5. Subs: Cambiaso 6, Medel 6, Vignato 6, Aebischer n/a, Ferguson n/a, Subs: Bardi, Bagnolini, Soumaoro, Lucumi, Posch, Kasius, Moro, Zirkzee
24’ GOAL! JUVENTUS 1-0 BOLOGNA! (Kostic) What a goal! What a counter attack from Juventus! They break quickly down the middle and have four on three. Vlahovic picks out Filip Kostic, who’s first touch is heavy, but his second is superb, squeezing into the far corner from a tight angle
31’ WHAT A SAVE! Alex Sandro’s superb cross from the left is met on the volley by Milik, but his shot is superbly stopped by the out-stretched right hand of Lukasz Skorupski
59’ GOAL! JUVENTUS 2-0 BOLOGNA! (Vlahovic). It’s another sensational Juventus counter-attack, and it’s rounded off by Vlahovic at the back-post with a towering header from McKennie’s pin-point cross
62’ GOAL! JUVENTUS 3-0 BOLOGNA. (Milik). The floodgates are open! Milik absolutely batters a volley into the back of the net from inside the box. The ‘keeper has no chance. That is a thunderbolt.