Sebastian Giovinco and Fernando Llorente made short work of Udinese, as Juventus conquered the Stadio Friuli.
The Bianconeri needed a victory to restore the eight-point gap from Roma, but missed Andrea Barzagli and had Arturo Vidal only fit for the bench, while Leonardo Bonucci and Carlos Tevez were rested. The Friulani welcomed back Antonio Di Natale, though Andrea Lazzari was sidelined and Emmanuel Badu banned. The hosts unveiled their new 2014-15 jerseys this evening.
The Udinese captain curled an early free kick over the bar, while Stephan Lichtsteiner’s chipped pass was inches over the head of Fernando Llorente. Di Natale was furious with Bruno Fernandes for misplacing a pass on a very promising counter-attack.
Sebastian Giovinco got a rare start and made it count with a magnificent strike, bursting past Maurizio Domizzi and curling with his left foot around Simone Scuffet into the far top corner from just inside the right edge of the area. The Atomic Ant also bagged a brace here last season, so clearly the Stadio Friuli inspires him.
Bonucci got into a row with someone from the Udinese bench during the post-goal celebrations and was booked, meaning he’ll be suspended for next week’s game with Bologna.
Giovinco almost got a second, but Scuffet got a hand to turn the low drive round the far post. However, from that corner Scuffet denied Kwadwo Asamoah at the back stick and could do nothing on Llorente’s follow-up from a couple of yards.
Di Natale fired a free kick into the wall from a promising position. Giovinco again burst past his marker after the break and crossed for Llorente, but the Spaniard just failed to make contact.
Giovinco almost bagged a second, as he left Dusan Basta for dead with quick feet only for the angled drive to thump the base of the far post. A rare Giorgio Chiellini foray into the opposition box had set up the ex-Parma man.
Lichtsteiner was booked for taking too long during a substitution and will be suspended for the next match.
Udinese finally had a chance at the 87th minute when Maurizio Domizzi pounced on a Martin Caceres error, but he forced a corner from Gigi Buffon at the near post.
In stoppages Luis Muriel thought he had scored, scuffing an angled drive across Buffon, but it bounced off the far upright and Chiellini charged down the Nico Lopez follow-up.
See the latest Serie A predictions and betting tips with Eurotips.co.uk