SERIE A MATCH REPORT

Serie A Week 1 - 20 Sep 2020 (19.45 UK)
Juventus 3 - 0 Sampdoria
Kulusevski 13 (J), Bonucci 79 (J), Ronaldo 88 (J)
Allianz Stadium

The Andrea Pirlo era got off to a sparkling start, beating Sampdoria 3-0 with Dejan Kulusevski, Leonardo Bonucci and Cristiano Ronaldo goals.

Watch the highlights here

Pirlo made his competitive debut as a coach against Claudio Ranieri, who was marking his 400th Serie A game. Paulo Dybala, Matthijs de Ligt, Federico Bernardeschi, Alex Sandro and Sami Khedira were injured, with Luca Pellegrini on the transfer market and Edin Dzeko still held up by Roma, so Cristiano Ronaldo had to be the centre-forward. It was a very surprising XI, with Weston McKennie and 21-year-old Gianluca Frabotta in a 5-4-1 transforming to 4-4-2, with Aaron Ramsey given freedom to roam between the lines. Samp missed Manolo Gabbiadini and suspended Kristoffer Askildsen, but had no new signings in the starting XI.

Danilo’s scorcher dipped just over the bar, then Cristiano Ronaldo forced a save from a tricky angle after Aaron Ramsey won back possession in midfield.

Kulusevski got the first goal of the Pirlo era with a finish of exquisite precision. Ronaldo tried to burst in, the ball fell kindly after a tackle and the ex-Parma winger steered it into the far bottom corner with the inside of his left boot. It was the Swede’s sixth touch in a Juventus jersey.

Cristiano Ronaldo almost got a second when sent running down the left by McKennie, but his powerful strike from a tight angle hit the crossbar.

Federico Bonazzoli fired wide from distance, but Ronaldo again went close with his side-foot finish skimming the far post on a Ramsey assist at the end of a well-worked passing move.

Samp made a triple substitution at the break, but it was Juve who forced a save from Emil Audero with Frabotta, again on a pass from wild card Ramsey.

Bonazzoli came sliding in just beyond the Gaston Ramirez cross-shot, then Omar Colley got back for a decisive interception as Kulusevski sent Ronaldo clear.

Quagliarella’s wayward shot and a Morten Thorsby header from a corner were off target for Samp, but Mattia De Sciglio almost scored with a fine first touch to control the Juan Cuadrado cross-field pass and shot deflected just wide.

Ronaldo stung Emil Audero’s gloves with a free kick, but it was a different set play that allowed Juventus to double their lead.

Kulusevski’s corner saw both Bonucci and McKennie go for the header, the American’s shot was well saved from close range by Audero, who could do nothing when Bonucci turned in the rebound.

Quagliarella tested Wojciech Szczesny and the goalkeeper had a very tricky save to make on a corner when Albin Ekdal’s header was deflected off Bonucci.

Audero showed cat-like reflexes with a bizarre save on McKennie’s bobbling effort, as he managed to instinctively stick out a trailing leg to somehow scoop the ball off the line within millimetres of it crossing over completely.

Quagliarella threatened again, his finish skimming the far post after an inspired Valerio Verre slide-rule pass.

However, Juve made it 3-0 when Ramsey’s through ball released Ronaldo down the right, hitting it hard and true across Audero into the far bottom corner.

Ramsey almost created a fourth moments later, this time CR7 lost his footing and couldn’t get the tap-in.

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Juventus: Szczesny; Bonucci, Chiellini (Demiral 82), Danilo; Cuadrado (Bentancur 78), Rabiot, McKennie, Frabotta (De Sciglio 67); Kulusevski (Douglas Costa 82), Cristiano Ronaldo, Ramsey
Sampdoria: Audero; Bereszynski, Tonelli (Yoshida 46), Colley, Augello; Depaoli (Ramirez 46), Thorsby (Damsgaard 70), Ekdal, Leris (Quagliarella 46), Jankto; Bonazzoli (Verre 70)
Ref: Piccinini