SERIE A MATCH REPORT

Serie A Week 1 - 19 Aug 2017 (17.00 UK)
Juventus 3 - 0 Cagliari
Mandzukic 13 (J), Dybala 45 (J), Higuain 66 (J)
Juventus Allianz Stadium

Juventus swept Cagliari aside 3-0 in the League opener, but Gigi Buffon also saved the first Serie A penalty awarded via VAR.

The reigning champions began the hunt for a seventh consecutive Scudetto, but did not start any of their summer signings. The Sardinians were without Federico Melchiorri and Alessandro Deiola, while Marco Borriello and Bartosz Salamon completed moves to Spal this morning.

The last time Juve lost to Cagliari at home was in 2009, when a late Alessandro Matri winner sealed a 3-2 victory for the Rossoblu. Fan anxiety at the departures of Leonardo Bonucci and Dani Alves was exacerbated by last week’s 3-2 Italian Super Cup defeat to Lazio.

Within two minutes, Miralem Pjanic’s free kick had shaved a coat of paint off the near top corner, but Juve broke the deadlock when Stephan Lichtsteiner floated in a cross for Mario Mandzukic to cushion a volley off the inside of his right boot from 10 yards.

The Bianconeri kept plenty of possession, but Gigi Buffon needed a great save on 34 minutes to parry from Diego Farias and, on the rebound Paolo Faragò blasted over the bar.

Serie A has introduced VAR this season and the Video Assistant Referee got its first use when Alex Sandro trod on the back of Duje Cop’s ankle. After several minutes and consultation on the monitors, the referee pointed to the spot. However, Farias stepped up and saw his penalty parried by 39-year-old Buffon.

On the stroke of half-time, the hosts doubled their lead, as Miralem Pjanic floated a fantastic ball over the top from his own half, Dybala chested it down and smashed into the roof of the net. It was his first Serie A goal since taking on the Number 10 jersey.

Straight after the restart, La Joya almost added another, his curler from the edge of the box thumping the crossbar.

Gonzalo Higuain’s effort was charged down by Marco Andreolli, while Faragò wasted another golden opportunity by firing over.

Pipita did get his goal eventually, sliding an angled drive under the defender’s legs after Sami Khedira and Alex Sandro combined down the left flank.

Blaise Matuidi made his Juventus debut, just 24 hours after completing his transfer from Paris Saint-Germain, for a 4-3-3 formation. Douglas Costa also made his Serie A bow and with the final kick of the game, Dybala skimmed the base of the upright.

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Juventus: Buffon; Lichtsteiner, Rugani, Chiellini, Alex Sandro; Marchisio (Khedira 61), Pjanic; Cuadrado (Douglas Costa 74), Dybala, Mandzukic; Higuain (Matuidi 71)
Cagliari: Cragno; Padoin (Joao Pedro 62), Andreolli, Pisacane, Capuano; Faragò, Cigarini (Dessena 85), Ionita; Barella; Farias, Cop (Sau 85)
Ref: Maresca

Saved penalty: Farias 39 (C)