A revamped Juventus found it tough going against Chievo until Paulo Dybala came off the bench to inspire their 3-0 victory.
Max Allegri imposed massive squad rotation ahead of the Champions League trip to Barcelona, giving Wojciech Szczesny, Douglas Costa and Blaise Matuidi their first starts. Giorgio Chiellini, Sami Khedira and Claudio Marchisio were injured with Alex Sandro suffering from flu. The Flying Donkeys missed Riccardo Meggiorini and Samuel Bastien.
Chievo have only ever beaten Juventus once in Serie A, along with seven draws and 21 defeats. That was 1-0 at the Bentegodi in January 2010, scraping one point from their last 10 encounters.
Gonzalo Higuain and Valter Birsa had early efforts charged down, but Juve broke through with an own goal, as Perparim Hetemaj accidentally nodded a Miralem Pjanic free kick into his net at the near post.
Chievo fought back, Manuel Pucciarelli slipping at the decisive moment after Mario Mandzukic was caught in possession. Captain Stephan Lichtsteiner’s deflected cross had to be palmed round the near stick.
There was a great chance on 25 minutes, as Ivan Radovanovic’s scorcher was parried one-handed by Szczesny and Medhi Benatia’s desperate interception stopped the tap-in.
Juve then went on the counter and Pjanic saw his strike fingertipped on to the crossbar by Stefano Sorrentino. Castro wasted a golden opportunity on Manuel Pucciarelli’s flicked pass, as he hesitated with two options open and the first touch let him down. Pucciarelli went for it himself, a scuffed finish smothered by Szczesny.
The hosts were pinned back after the restart by an aggressive Chievo side, so Allegri threw on Paulo Dybala for the ineffective Douglas Costa.
That proved an immediate inspiration, as Dybala and Pjanic combined passes to set up Higuain, who blasted into the roof of the net from 10 yards.
Birsa curled over and Dybala went on a mazy run past several defenders until Radovanovic charged down the shot. La Joya then skimmed the far post with a fierce angled drive after riding a tackle on the edge of the box.
Federico Bernardeschi was given his Serie A debut in a Juventus jersey, but veteran Sergio Pellissier nodded a Birsa cross just wide from six yards.
Matuidi was booked for bringing down Lucas Castro and Birsa curled the resulting free kick inches wide of the near post.
Mandzukic limped off with strapping under his left knee and was shaking his head as he left the field, so it remains to be seen if he’ll be available against Barcelona on Tuesday.
Dybala had attempted several complex slaloms through the Chievo defence and it eventually paid off, as he dribbled between four to place the snooker shot low at the near post from 12 yards. The assist was from Bernardeschi.
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