19.08.2017 20:04 - in: Match report S

    Starting in style!

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    Goals from Mandzukic, Dybala and Higuain earn Juventus a 3-0 win over Cagliari to kick off the 2017/18 Serie A season

    You couldn’t have scripted a better start to the 2017/18 Serie A campaign as Juventus cruised to a 3-0 win over Cagliari at the Allianz Stadium.

    The usual suspects found the scoresheet for the Bianconeri as Mario Mandzukic, Paulo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain ensured that Juventus opened the season in emphatic fashion in front of nearly 40,000 in Turin.

    It took Juve just 12 minutes to take their first lead of the season as some wonderful build-up saw the Bianconeri play from the right side to the left and back to the right in front of the Cagliari goal. Eventually Stephan Lichtsteiner found space for a cross that was volleyed home with aplomb by Mandzukic for his first goal of the season.

    Beginning his 17th season between the Bianconeri sticks, Gianluigi Buffon would be called into action twice late in the first half and heroically answer the bell. First, the Italian legend made a smart stop on Diego Farias’ low, driven shot in the 35th minute, but it was his second save that got everyone out of their seats.

    After the first ever usage of VAR in a Serie A match, Cagliari were awarded a penalty in the 38th minute for a foul on Duje Cop. Farias stepped up to take the spot-kick, but Buffon was there to save his shot and preserve the Juventus lead.

    The saves would prove huge as just before the half-time whistle, Juventus doubled their advantage. A world-class ball over the top from Miralem Pjanic played through Dybala and the Argentine made no mistake from close range to put the Bianconeri up 2-0.

    In the second half, Dybala nearly added a second in the 47th minute as his shot beat Alessio Cragno in the Cagliari goal but slammed off the crossbar and away.

    It was a quiet first hour for Higuain, but the Argentine reminded us once again that he only needs one chance to make an impact. In the 66th minute, Pipita took a brilliant ball from Alex Sandro at the top of the box before driving a low and hard left-footed shot past Cragno for Juve’s third goal of the night.

    The second half saw Massimiliano Allegri hand debuts to new boys Douglas Costa and Blaise Matuidi as the Bianconeri earned a confidence-building 3-0 win.

    Up next for Juventus is a trip south to Genoa, who they take on next Saturday, 26 August, looking to make it a perfect six-point start to the season.

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