Gonzalo Higuain came off the bench and scored with his third touch as Juventus squeezed past Fiorentina 2-1.
The opening weekend provided one of the hottest fixtures in the Serie A calendar, as there’s a bitter rivalry between these sides. Injured Miralem Pjanic and €90m man Higuain were on the bench, but Dani Alves made his competitive Bianconeri bow. Borja Valero missed out with a sprained ankle, but Paulo Sousa shocked everyone by giving Federico Chiesa – the 18-year-old son of legendary striker Enrico – his debut.
Sami Khedira failed to make the most of a poor Ciprian Tatarusanu clearance after four minutes, while Davide Astori’s handball was considered involuntary as it bounced off his leg first.
Kwadwo Asamoah looked sharp and blasted over on the spin and Paulo Dybala’s curler was wide of the far top corner. Dybala and Dani Alves were already combining well, but it was Giorgio Chiellini who provided the unexpected cross for a powerful Khedira header to break the deadlock.
Dybala’s ferocious half-volley skimmed the bar from the edge of the box and Alex Sandro should’ve done better when firing over.
Gonzalo Rodriguez nodded over from a free kick, while Carlos Sanchez made his Serie A debut and Higuain his first competitive appearance in a Juve jersey.
Fiorentina had more of the ball in the second half, but Gigi Buffon remained a spectator, as they passed it far too slowly.
However, two Alex Sandro errors allowed Fiorentina to equalise with their first real shot on target. Cristian Tello got away from the Brazilian to force a corner, then Alex Sandro lost Kalinic for a powerful header on the resulting set play.
The Bianconeri seemed shaken, but Higuain came off the bench and opened his Juventus account within eight minutes. Asamoah found Khedira in acres of space on the penalty spot and when his effort was deflected, Pipita pounced to turn in the rebound from the tightest of angles. After so many jokes about his weight, it was essential that the Argentine get off to a strong start in Turin – and he scored with his third touch.
Mario Lemina’s scorching volley from distance forced a tough Tatarusanu save, but Matias Vecino fired over from a Tello cut-back. Deep into stoppages, Andrea Barzagli's defending was decisive on a Federico Bernardeschi free kick and Tatarusanu again got his fingertips to a Lemina snapshot.
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