SERIE A MATCH REPORT

Serie A Week 3 - 10 Sep 2016 (17.00 UK)
Juventus 3 - 1 Sassuolo
Higuain 5, 10 (J), Pjanic 27 (J), Antei 33 (S)
Juventus Stadium

Gonzalo Higuain’s brace, including a stunning volley, and Miralem Pjanic saw Juventus sweep Sassuolo aside 3-1.

The Bianconeri gave Miralem Pjanic his debut, while it was the first time Higuain and Paulo Dybala started together, but Andrea Barzagli was rested. Sassuolo had technically won their first two rounds, but the 2-1 victory against Pescara was overturned due to the irregular registration of Antonino Ragusa. They made the trip without injured Domenico Berardi and Gregoire Defrel, while Paolo Cannavaro and Simone Missiroli were rested for the Europa League.

It was an action-packed start, as Matteo Politano burst down the right and his low drive was fingertipped round the base of the near post by Gigi Buffon.

However, Juve struck on the counter with Dybala feeding Higuain for a precise angled strike into the far bottom corner.

Sassuolo continued to push forward with Ragusa and Alfred Duncan, but Higuain scored with a moment of astounding quality. A loose ball was knocked up into the air and, surrounded by defenders, he managed to smash in a spectacular volley from 12 yards.

Dybala wasted a good chance by trying to set up Pipita for a hat-trick, then Leonardo Bonucci’s header from a corner whistled just wide.

The dominance was remarkable in Turin and debutant Pjanic got on the scoresheet too. Dybala had penalty appeals waved away, but the move continued and Pjanic’s header came off the bar, so the Bosnian pounced to tap in the rebound.

Sassuolo were shell-shocked, but got one back when Buffon missed a Politano corner and Alex Sandro’s defensive header ricocheted in off Luca Antei. It was the first goal the Neroverdi had scored here in their fourth visit.

After the restart Andrea Consigli beat away a Khedira snapshot, while in a double chance Pjanic forced a point-blank save and Alex Sandro flashed the follow-up across the face of goal.

Dybala got away from three defenders at the by-line with a delightful dummy to test Consigli at the near stick, then Giorgio Chiellini nodded wide from a corner.

Lichtsteiner fired straight at Consigli from six yards and a double tackle stopped him getting the rebound. Politano’s fine run turned into an assist for Ragusa, who was offside when redirecting it on to the upright.

Sassuolo had penalty appeals waved away for a Chiellini handball on Pietro Iemmello’s header. Substitute Mario Mandzukic saw his angled drive saved after a Dybala through ball, then Francesco Acerbi was decisive to stop a Dybala tap-in after Pjanic’s stone-cold first touch on a long Bonucci pass.

Yet Sassuolo so nearly made it 3-2 in the final minutes when Politano sprung the offside trap on Federico Ricci's pass, went round Buffon and was only denied by a Lichtsteiner goal-line clearance.

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Juventus: Buffon; Benatia, Bonucci, Chiellini; Lichtsteiner, Khedira (Hernanes 72), Lemina, Pjanic, Alex Sandro; Dybala (Pjaca 87), Higuain (Mandzukic 69)
Sassuolo: Consigli; Gazzola, Antei, Acerbi, Peluso; Pellegrini (Missiroli 56), Magnanelli, Duncan; Politano, Matri (Iemmello 56), Ragusa (Ricci 79)
Ref: Di Bello