SERIE A MATCH REPORT

Serie A Week 5 - 20 Sep 2017 (19.45 UK)
Juventus 1 - 0 Fiorentina
Mandzukic 52 (J)
Juventus Stadium

Mario Mandzukic’s header proved enough to get the better of 10-man Fiorentina, but Juventus looked far from impressive.

This has always been a bitter rivalry, not helped by Federico Bernardeschi making the switch to Turin this summer. Juve rested Gigi Buffon, Miralem Pjanic and Alex Sandro among others, giving a chance to Wojciech Szczesny, Stefano Sturaro and Rodrigo Bentancur in a bid to maintain their perfect Serie A record this season. The Viola were on back-to-back wins, but had just two 1-1 draws in the last nine visits to Turin, since a 3-2 victory in March 2008.

Paulo Dybala turned an early free kick just wide, while Andrea Barzagli was booked after Giovanni Simeone caught Daniele Rugani in possession and Valentin Eysseric turned his set play over.

Simeone went on a dangerous counter-attack only to over-hit the pass for Federico Chiesa, and Higuain’s snapshot was deflected wide.

Marco Sportiello was alert to intercept a Juan Cuadrado assist with Mario Mandzukic ready to tap in.

After the restart, Cyril Thereau dribbled down the left relatively undisturbed, his chipped pass for Simeone intercepted at the last second by Barzagli.

Bruno Gaspar replaced Vincent Laurini and immediately Juventus broke the deadlock. Gaspar was caught out by Mandzukic, who was first to nod in the Juan Cuadrado cross from close range.

The Bianconeri almost scored with an exact replica, again Bruno Gaspar not closing it down, but Mandzukic couldn’t get on the end of the Cuadrado cross this time.

There was a bizarre incident when the referee awarded a penalty for Milan Badelj’s trip on Blaise Matuidi. However, VAR confirmed it was just outside the area and a second bookable offence for the midfielder, leaving Fiorentina down to 10 men.

Cuadrado’s fierce strike stung the gloves of Sportiello and Mandzukic saw a late header parried at the far post, but Fiorentina pushed forward even down to 10 and continued to threaten.

In the final minute, they were hanging on, as Simeone had a free header from a corner that went just wide. Max Allegri knew it was a poor performance and stormed off down the tunnel in a rage at the final whistle.

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Juventus: Szczesny; Sturaro (Lichtsteiner 90), Barzagli, Rugani, Asamoah; Bentancur, Matuidi; Cuadrado (Bernardeschi 82), Dybala (Pjanic 75), Mandzukic; Higuain
Fiorentina: Sportiello; Laurini (Gaspar 51), Pezzella, Astori, Biraghi; Veretout, Badelj; Benassi (Gil Dias 61), Thereau (Sanchez 69), Chiesa; Simeone
Ref: Doveri

Sent off: Badelj 66 (F)