Juventus
    20.08.2016 22:54 - in: Serie A S

    Khedira and Higuain seal opening day win

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    Goals by Sami Khedira and Gonzalo Higuain see the Bianconeri seal a 2-1 victory over Fiorentina in their Serie A curtain-raiser on Saturday at Juventus Stadium

    They say that home is where the heart is and, in the case of the Bianconeri, the old adage could not be more apt. Ninety-nine days after celebrating last term’s Scudetto at Juventus Stadium, Massimiliano Allegri’s men put on a show for the fans once more with a deserved opening day victory over Fiorentina on Saturday evening within the walls of this iconic arena.

    Sami Khedira may not have been the first name on people’s list for Juventus’ first goal of the campaign, but the Germany international proved what a quality finisher he can be upon powerfully heading home Giorgio Chiellini’s cross.

    On top for large spells, the hosts would lose their lead on 70 minutes when Nikola Kalinic nodded in from close range, but there was still time for a certain Gonzalo Higuain to introduce himself to his new adoring faithful with what proved to be the winner just four minutes later – a magical moment that provided the fitting end to an exciting encounter and all-important triumph for Allegri and company, who start the season just as they will have planned in their search for a sixth straight Scudetto title

    Amid a buzzing Juventus Stadium, the Bianconeri began extremely brightly and very nearly took the lead when Khedira guided his effort fractionally over the crossbar in the fourth minute. However, that near miss would not demoralise the hosts at all from continuing to press for an opener, with Dani Alves seeing a long-range strike blocked on the quarter-hour mark and Kwadwo Asamoah firing over from inside the area moments afterwards.

    It wouldn’t be too long either until Paulo Dybala released the trigger for the first time, the striker dragging a 21st-minute shot just wide of the target before sending another attempt narrowly over the bar following a fine and fluid passing exchange with Alves, strikingly impressive on his full club debut.

    In the 37th minute, Juve eventually made their supremacy count when Khedira made the perfect contact with Chiellini’s ball from the left flank to steer home past Viola keeper Ciprian Tatarusanu under a rapturous Curva Sud.

    The Bianconeri’s reaction to the goal was simply to try to score more with Dybala and Alex Sandro both coming close as the first 45 minutes drew to a close. Having helped themselves to 11 shots to Fiorentina’s zero before the break, the hosts might have hoped to establish a larger half-time lead and they would momentarily be made to regret their relative profligacy in attack.

    For, following a more subdued opening phase of the second period, the visitors managed to hit a 70th-minute equaliser courtesy of Kalinic’s well-placed header past Gigi Buffon.

    The Viola would be on level terms for just four minutes, however, as Khedira’s blocked effort saw the ball bounce out to Higuain, who turned in from an acute angle to open up his Serie A account for his new club and instantly earn hero status at Juventus Stadium.

    Allegri’s men will now turn their attentions to building upon tonight’s triumph when they make the journey south to face Lazio in Rome’s Stadio Olimpico next Saturday afternoon (kick-off at 18.00 CEST).

    JUVENTUS

    Buffon, Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini, Dani Alves, Khedira (Hernanes 88), Lemina, Asamoah, Alex Sandro, Mandzukic (Higuain 67), Dybala (Evra 84)

    Unused substitutes: Neto, Audero, Lichtsteiner, Rugani, Benatia, Marrone, Pjanic, Pjaca, Zaza

    Manager: Allegri

     

    FIORENTINA

    Tatarusanu, Tomovic, Gonzalo, Astori, Alonso, Vecino, Badelj (Sanchez 65), Chiesa (Tello 46), Bernardeschi, Ilicic (Rossi 80), Kalinic

    Unused substitutes: Lezzerini, Dragowski, De Maio, Zarate, Fernandez, Diks, Hagi, Babacar, Milic

    Manager: Sousa

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