Crotone frustrated Juventus, but they smashed their way through with Mario Mandzukic, Medhi Benatia and Mattia De Sciglio’s first ever goal.
Max Allegri switched things up with a 3-4-3 formation, including Mario Mandzukic as a centre-forward and the debut of Benedikt Howedes. Giorgio Chiellini, Juan Cuadrado, Federico Bernardeschi and Marko Pjaca were injured with Gonzalo Higuain and Miralem Pjanic rested following one point from their last two competitive games. Crotone faced Juve four times before and were still waiting for their first goal.
Blaise Matuidi blasted off target from a promising position and Juve were permanently in Crotone’s half, but without making any genuine impact, as cross after cross was charged down.
Howedes was given a bloody nose on his debut by an accidental collision with Ante Budimir, but Juve’s siege continued. Douglas Costa went on a mazy run and got the cross to the back post, where Matuidi nodded wide from six yards.
Alex Cordaz made his first genuine save on 38 minutes, getting down one-handed to turn Alex Sandro’s daisy-cutter round the base of the post.
Moments later, Crotone also had their chance, as Aleksandar Tonev burst down the left flank and his shot struck the side-netting.
Mandzukic nodded inches wide on Andrea Barzagli’s cross, but the first half ended 0-0 despite Juve keeping 81% possession.
The deadlock was eventually broken on 52 minutes when Barzagli put in a cross from the right, Mandzukic peeled away from his two markers and steered the header into the top corner. That means the Bianconeri have found the net in their last 43 consecutive Serie A games, equalling their own record set from February 2013 to March 2014.
It was soon 2-0 with an unexpected goal-scorer, as substitute Mattia De Sciglio came off the bench for Stephan Lichtsteiner and hit an absolute rocket from outside the area to fly past Cordaz. It was remarkably the ex-Milan full-back’s first ever professional goal at senior level at the 173rd game for club and country.
Dybala curled a free kick off target and the third came from a short corner, Miralem Pjanic’s low cross palmed off the feet of Matuidi, but allowing Medhi Benatia to tap in from a yard.
Cordaz flew to pluck a Mandzukic header out of the air, but Gigi Buffon made his first save on 74 minutes, using his legs to parry Ante Budimir’s angled drive at the near post.
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