27.08.2016 20:14 - in: Serie A S

    Khedira strikes again to maintain perfect start

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    Sami Khedira’s second-half winner proves the difference as Juventus maintain their 100 per cent start to this season’s Serie A campaign with tonight’s 1-0 win over Lazio at the Olimpico

    Juventus maintained their 100 per cent start to their Serie A campaign with tonight’s hard-fought victory over Lazio, Sami Khedira’s second-half strike proving the difference between the sides as the visitors dug deep for a 1-0 triumph in the capital.

    An evenly matched encounter came to life in the second half when, following a flurry of Bianconeri opportunities, Khedira finally made the reigning champions’ pressure count on 66 minutes courtesy of a cool finish into the bottom corner.

    The hosts rallied and threw caution to the wind in their quest for a way back into the encounter, but Massimiliano Allegri’s rearguard held firm to see out an important three points in their final game ahead of September’s international break.

    Featuring Medhi Benatia for Leonardo Bonucci as the only change from last Saturday’s 2-1 opening day win over Fiorentina, Juventus found themselves on the defensive during the early exchanges but did fashion the first chance of the game on eight minutes, Paulo Dybala seeing his header saved by Federico Marchetti.

    Massimiliano Allegri had used his pre-match press conference to warn of the threat posed by the Biancocelesti on the counter and the visitors were almost caught short when, on 23 minutes, a quick break saw the ball worked towards Ciro Immobile at the back post, only for Benatia to save the day with a perfectly timed interception.

    Sparing the hosts’ blushes down the other end was Marchetti, who prevented Asamoah’s unorthodox effort in the area from looping inside his near post 11 minutes later.

    The second half saw Juventus lift the tempo and, following a sustained period of pressure in the Lazio half, they fashioned two golden chances with 57 minutes on the clock. The first came courtesy of Mario Mandzukic’s volley in the area, beaten away by the gloves of Marchetti, before Dybala’s fine left-footed follow-up rolled agonisingly wide of the upright.

    Five minutes later it was Khedira’s deflected cross-cum-shot that had Biancocelesti pulses racing, with Mandzukic inches away from providing the required touch at the back post.

    That was the Croat’s final contribution of the evening, Gonzalo Higuain joining the action on 66 minutes as Allegri repeated the move that proved decisive in yielding last weekend’s winner.

    While lightning didn’t strike twice as far as the Argentine was concerned, it did in the case of Khedira, who netted his second goal in as many games with a precise finish beyond Marchetti from inside the area just seconds after Higuain had entered the fray.

    As expected, Lazio upped the pressure as they searched for an equaliser, but last season’s meanest Serie A rearguard showed no signs of buckling and duly held firm to close out a thoroughly deserved victory.

    The Bianconeri’s title charge will resume when they return to action in a fortnight’s time following the international break, Sassuolo providing the opposition at Juventus Stadium.

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