Paul Pogba had a star-making performance, netting two long-range screamers as Juventus hammered Udinese 4-0.
The Bianconeri had one point from two rounds and saw their lead at the top of the table sliced to three points going into this weekend. Antonio Conte had to completely reshuffle his midfield, missing Andrea Pirlo, Claudio Marchisio, Simone Pepe, Kwadwo Asamoah, Giorgio Chiellini and Nicklas Bendtner. Udinese were without Zeljko Brkic, Diego Fabbrini, Mehdi Benatia and Emmanuel Badu, while Antonio Di Natale was debilitated by flu and only able to start from the bench.
Juve had an aggressive start under sleet, but Mirko Vucinic, Sebastian Giovinco and Paul Pogba failed to make the most of chances.
A terrible Danilo clearance inside the area went straight to Stephan Lichtsteiner, who tried to pass it in from 12 yards and saw the effort charged down.
Arturo Vidal’s powerful shot on the counter was palmed over the bar by Daniele Padelli. The second choice goalkeeper was again called into action when Emanuele Giaccherini burst forward on the counter, but opted to shoot rather than roll across to Giovinco, so Padelli parried with an outstretched foot.
For the second time a corner was nodded over by Pogba, albeit with a deflection off Dusan Basta, then Leonardo Bonucci’s looping header landed on the roof of the net.
Lichtsteiner pulled back for Vucinic, who hesitated and tried to dribble past four players, eventually narrowing the angle too much to get a clear shot.
The deadlock was finally broken in truly spectacular fashion, as Pogba unleashed an unstoppable right-foot screamer on the half-volley from 32 metres that hit the underside of the bar to give Padelli no chance whatsoever. The shot was clocked at 101km/h.
Alessandro Matri came on for the second half, but Udinese were dangerous with a sweeping counter-attack and Gigi Buffon was fortunate that Luis Muriel scuffed his volley at the back post with Giaccherini diving in to block. Buffon blocked another Muriel attempt, so Di Natale was introduced as the sleet transformed to light snow.
Padelli smothered a smart Giaccherini solo effort, but at the other end Muriel scuffed a volley into the ground from the edge of the box in a great scoring opportunity.
Vidal wanted a penalty when his shot was charged down by Thomas Heurtaux’s hand, but the arm was across his chest and therefore not increasing the size of his body in any way. Vidal had wasted the chance by hesitating.
Pogba took matters into his own hands again to double Juve’s lead with another stunning long-range strike. This time it was a sudden daisy-cutter that slotted into the far bottom corner. It was the French 19-year-old’s fourth goal in 13 games and he was signed on a free transfer from Manchester United.
Juventus added a third with a howler from the ex-Liverpool goalkeeper, as Padelli was weak when parrying a Vucinic effort from six yards, deflecting it over his own body.
Di Natale’s snapshot scraped the top of the crossbar, but the Bianconeri made it 4-0. Matri had scored two in this fixture last season, netting again when he ran on to a Vucinic through ball and nutmegged the on-rushing goalkeeper.
Giampiero Pinzi and Dusan Basta fired straight at Buffon, as Udinese were unable to force a consolation goal.
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