Sassuolo were left to rue wasted opportunities, as clinical Juventus emerged 3-0 winners with Sami Khedira, Cristiano Ronaldo and Emre Can.
This result allows the reigning champions to go 11 points clear of Napoli at the top of the table.
Paulo Dybala was again dropped to the bench, while Giorgio Chiellini, Leonardo Bonucci, Douglas Costa and Juan Cuadrado were injured, with Andrea Barzagli back in the squad after a long lay-off. The Neroverdi had Alfred Duncan suspended, Marlon injured and Francesco Magnani not fully fit.
Within 65 seconds, the hosts had almost scored on a classic counter-attack, Stefano Sensi firing just wide. Moments later, Daniele Rugani was caught in possession on a poor Miralem Pjanic back-pass and Filip Djuricic sprinted into the box, with Wojciech Szczesny having to time his interception perfectly to push the ball off his foot. A VAR viewing confirmed the goalkeeper got it spot-on to save his team from a nightmare start.
Szczesny again flew to palm a Manuel Locatelli scorcher out of the near top corner, as Juve simply weren’t in the game.
Nonetheless, the Bianconeri took the lead against the run of play with their first real chance. Cristiano Ronaldo’s powerful snapshot stung Andrea Consigli’s gloves and Sami Khedira turned in the rebound.
A spectacular Domenico Berardi volley from 25 metres out flew just over the bar, but that goal took the wind out of Sassuolo’s sails after a fantastic start.
On the stroke of half-time, it was almost 2-0, as Consigli parried a Federico Bernardeschi screamer and as the move continued Khedira’s glancing header whistled inches wide.
Rugani turned his header off target from a Mattia De Sciglio cross, while Cristiano Ronaldo did have the ball in the net from a tight angle after running around Consigli, but was marginally offside on the Bernardeschi through ball.
Sassuolo should’ve been level on 54 minutes when Szczesny was caught in no man’s land as he rushed out to scuff a long ball, but Berardi fired wide of the open goal.
Mandzukic’s cross flashed across the six-yard box with neither Khedira nor Bernardeschi able to get the finish, while De Sciglio’s angled drive whistled inches wide on a Mandzukic knock-down.
Cristiano Ronaldo got his 18th Serie A goal of the season from a Pjanic corner, as he started his run a long way back and surprised Consigli with the header. CR7 celebrated by dedicating it to Dybala on the touchline with his ‘mask’ gesture.
Emre Can came off the bench and scored with his first touch, as Juve concluded a rugby-style move from right to left with Ronaldo’s assist for the substitute’s left-foot angled drive at the back post.
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