Fabio Quagliarella scored a splendid brace as Juventus pushed past Chievo 2-0 despite the best efforts of Stefano Sorrentino.
The Bianconeri were defending a 100 per cent Serie A record, but also rested stars in-between their 2-2 draw with Chelsea and Tuesday’s trip to Fiorentina. It gave 19-year-old Paul Pogba his Serie A debut in place of Andrea Pirlo, plus rare starts for Mauricio Isla, Lucio and Quagliarella. Chievo missed Luciano, Boukary Drame, Alberto Paloschi and Lorenzo Squizzi, but opted for ex-Juventus youth product Marco Rigoni supporting evergreen Sergio Pellissier.
Stand-in Coach Massimo Carrera described Chievo as Juve’s ‘bete noir’ after four draws in their last five meetings, home and away.
Quagliarella had a couple of great early chances, a header caught and a half-volley beaten away by Sorrentino at full stretch one-handed.
Giorgio Chiellini did well to close down Pellissier in a training ground set piece move, but Mirko Vucinic should’ve done better when firing wide on the counter from that resulting corner.
Juventus had the ball in the back of the net after 26 minutes, but it did not count. Vucinic was just offside when he redirected Isla’s assist from five yards.
Moments later Kwadwo Asamoah’s sharp cross-shot was flicked on by Emanuele Giaccherini, but again Sorrentino reacted very quickly to parry from close range.
The Chievo goalkeeper had his palms stung by an Asamoah screamer from distance, then Giaccherini couldn’t quite get control of a smart Quagliarella chipped pass when clear on goal.
After the restart Isla fired on to the side-netting after a Perparim Hetemaj error, but it was his last contribution before making way for Arturo Vidal.
Giaccherini again went extremely close, his scuffed angled drive going past Sorrentino to dribble inches past the far post with Quagliarella just too slow to get the final touch.
Dario Dainelli stopped Vucinic tapping in an Asamoah pull-back from the by-line and from the resulting corner everyone missed it – including Sorrentino.
Chievo created a rare scoring opportunity on the hour mark, as Marco Rigoni’s shot was well smothered by Gigi Buffon. They also introduced Rinaldo Cruzado for Hetemaj in an attacking switch, seeing that Juventus were not on form.
Sorrentino seemed unstoppable, as he performed an amazing reaction save from point-blank range on Giorgio Chiellini’s header from a corner. The defender was only a couple of yards away with the bullet header, so it was a remarkable stop.
He had also got to the ball on the next corner, but could not stop a spectacular Quagliarella overhead kick from going in, as it ricocheted off his hand to go under the bar. The Neapolitan striker was totally unmarked and took full advantage, netting again after his goal at Stamford Bridge this week.
The floodgates had opened and Quagliarella got his second. A splendid first touch on the edge of the box took him past Dainelli and he kept his cool for an angled drive with the inside of his right foot that Sorrentino got a hand to, but again could not keep out of the far bottom corner.
Quagliarella was given a standing ovation as he left the field to give Nicklas Bendtner his Juventus debut and the ex-Arsenal striker immediately had a shot charged down.