SERIE A MATCH REPORT

Serie A Week 29 - 30 Mar 2019 (17.00 UK)
Juventus 1 - 0 Empoli
Kean 72 (J)
Allianz Stadium

Juventus were outplayed for the entire first half by Empoli, but Moise Kean came off the bench and scored the winner with his second touch.

The Bianconeri lost their first Serie A match of the season, falling 2-0 to Genoa ahead of the break for international duty, but it made little difference to their lead at the top of the table. Aurelio Andreazzoli marked his comeback in place of sacked Beppe Iachini with a 2-1 victory over Frosinone to keep their heads above water.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Douglas Costa, Juan Cuadrado and Andrea Barzagli were injured, with Paulo Dybala pulling out during the warm-up with a right thigh issue, so Rodrigo Bentancur stepped in. Matias Silvestre was suspended for the visitors, with Antonino La Gumina, Levan Mchedlidze, Kevin Diks and Jacob Rasmussen unavailable.

Diego Farias hesitated when one-on-one with Wojciech Szczesny, sent clear by a Rade Krunic back-heel flick and Ciccio Caputo through ball, allowing Daniele Rugani to close him down for a corner.

Empoli dominated early on, the crowd grumbling at Joao Cancelo defensive errors, Rugani’s sliding block cutting off Farias again and Krunic drilling just wide on a couple of occasions.

Juve only threatened on the counter-attack and with a Mario Mandzukic diving header that tested Bartlomiej Dragowski.

Federico Bernardeschi’s daisy-cutter was fingertipped away and he almost scored a stunner, his acrobatic volley off the outside of the boot clipping the crossbar under pressure from Cristian Dell’Orco.

The Bianconeri improved considerably as time wore on, Bernardeschi’s half-volley over and a Cancelo effort flashing in front of Mandzukic.

The biggest cheer from the crowd came when 19-year-old Kean was introduced, swiftly followed by his goal three minutes later. It was only his second touch, as Mandzukic nodded down a long ball and Kean let it bounce inside the box before smashing in the half-volley. It rounded off the perfect week, scoring for Italy against both Finland and Liechtenstein.

Kean was sent clear again by Pjanic and a Domenico Maietta error, but Dragowski managed a desperate one-handed save.

Empoli kept pushing to the end, but Rugani and Chiellini cleaned everything up.

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Juventus: Szczesny; Cancelo, Rugani, Chiellini, Alex Sandro (Spinazzola 61); Emre Can, Pjanic, Matuidi (Kean 69); Bernardeschi (Caceres 84), Mandzukic, Bentancur
Empoli: Dragowski; Veseli, Maietta (Pasqual 80), Dell’Orco; Di Lorenzo, Traoré, Bennacer, Krunic (Acquah 80), Pajac (Ucan 80); Farias, Caputo
Ref: La Penna