Mirko Vucinic and Alessandro Matri – who scored after his boot fell off – secured a comfortable 2-0 Juventus victory over rivals Fiorentina.
These clubs have always been bitter rivals and there was real fire in the opening fixture of Serie A Week 24. Leonardo Bonucci and Coach Antonio Conte were still banned for insulting the referee, while Giorgio Chiellini, Simone Pepe, Mauricio Isla and Nicklas Bendtner were sidelined. Alberto Aquilani and Giulio Migliaccio sat out Fiorentina bans, so Romulo stepped in.
The Viola had won just one of their last 22 League meetings with Juventus and Claudio Marchisio had a great opportunity, volleying off target from a splendid Andrea Pirlo ball over the top and no teammates were there to follow up.
Moments later Marchisio drilled inches wide from the D, but Stevan Jovetic ran on to a smart Luca Toni pass only to take a heavy touch and allow Gigi Buffon to block his path. The goalkeeper also smothered a Juan Cuadrado volley and Toni almost got a toe to it.
It was wide open and very attacking from both sides, as Emiliano Viviano used his legs to deny Mirko Vucinic at the near post.
Buffon needed a spectacular reaction save with an outstretched foot after Jovetic spun round on the penalty spot to shoot. Toni and two Juve players dived in to get the rebound, but it bundled out for a corner.
Stephan Lichtsteiner’s screamer swerved viciously in the air and Viviano got enough on it to punch away, but there was absolutely nothing Viviano could do moments later.
Vucinic gathered a poor Gonzalo Rodriguez clearance outside the box and hit an absolute missile under the bar. It was really travelling at an astounding pace.
Vucinic really should’ve made it 2-0 on 32 minutes. Gonzalo Rodriguez slipped over, letting the Juventus striker clear on goal, but he fired straight at Viviano from close range. Alessandro Matri was ready for Vucinic to roll across for a certain goal.
Juventus doubled their advantage before the break when Arturo Vidal controlled with a smart flick and rolled a through ball to release Matri for the angled drive. Bizarrely, Matri managed to score after his boot had fallen off! It flew away as he was pulling the trigger, but he got enough power on to it even with just socks.
After the restart Paolo De Ceglie’s pull-back went past Vucinic, but Vidal blasted over. Marchisio and Federico Peluso were booked and will be suspended for next week’s game with Roma. More concerns for Juve, as Vucinic limped off with a right knee problem.
Matri threatened a second personal goal when he flashed an angled drive across the face of goal, inches away from the back post.
Buffon captured efforts from Romulo and Mounir El Hamdaoui and Viviano was booked for a coming-together with Lichtsteiner. The Fiorentina goalkeeper needed a good save at full stretch to deny Sebastian Giovinco’s curler.
Rodriguez tried to dribble out of his own area and risked giving away a goal to Paul Pogba. Adem Ljajic had an opportunity in stoppages at the by-line, but could only force a corner. Giovinco also horribly scuffed a volley.