26 February 2022
Strike partners Moise Kean and Dusan Vlahovic led the line and found the net as Juventus scored three at the Castellani but a sprightly Empoli struck back twice. The Bianconeri held their ground and collected all three points with a first victory in three league matches to hold down fourth place.
VLAHOVIC AND KEAN LEAD THE LINE
Empoli employed a high-pressing game to thwart Juventus from building deep, but when the Bianconeri did manage to break free of the close marking they looked dangerous. Kean and Vlahovic were the outlets in attack and it was the Serb who fed Denis Zakaria on seven minutes. From inside the penalty area, the midfielder's low shot was parried by Guiglielmo Vicario and spun out for a corner. Again Vlahovic and Kean were at the heart of the Juventus threat when Kean found his strike partner, whose low shot flashed dangerously across the face of the Empoli goal. With just over half an hour on the clock, Juventus took the lead and it was Kean on the end of a flowing move started by Vahovic on the half-way line. As the ball was worked down the left, Adrien Rabiot's cross was headed home by Kean from six yards out.
A few minutes later, the joy of the goal was replaced by injury fears as Denis Zakaria limped off, replaced by Manuel Locatelli. On 40 minutes, the home side found the equaliser. Juventus failed to clear a corner kick and Szymon Zurkowsi reacted quickest to prod the ball into the net from close range.
The first half action wasn't over yet, however. In stoppage time, Arthur intercepted in the centre circle and fed Juan Cuadrado. He was allowed to reach the penalty area where his pass found the feet of Vlahovic, whose initial dummy fooled the Empoli defence, allowing the striker to coolly chip the ball into the empty net.
DUSAN TO THE DOUBLE
Empoli continued to keep the Juventus defence under pressure after the interval, but the Bianconeri were keen to take advantage on the counter-attack, also after Alvaro Morata had replaced Kean in attack. In fact, it was the substitute who set off on the break and rolled the ball into the path of Vlahovic, who lobbed the onrushing Vicario to give Juve a two-goal advantage.
EMPOLI CUT THE DEFICIT
Empoli refused to lie down and a spate of substitutions gave the home side a lease of life. A period of sustained pressure led to the hosts' second goal. Adrien Rabiot's deflected header was heading into his own net before Leonardo Bonucci diverted the ball onto the underside of the crossbar. However, the second wave of the attack led to the ball breaking to Andrea La Mantia, who drove the ball low into the net. Four minutes later, the Empoli substitute almost had a second, but deflected his shot wide of target.
Juventus managed to see out the closing minutes to collect three hard-earned and precious points.
EMPOLI 2-3 JUVENTUS (HT: 1-2)
Scorers: 32' Kean (J), 40' Zurkowski (E), 45+2' & 66' Vlahovic (J), 80' La Mantia (E)
Vicario; Stojanovic (85' Henderson), Ismajli, Luperto, Cacace (70' Parisi); Zurkowski, Asllani, Bandinelli (70' Benassi); Bajrami (85' Verre), Di Francesco (70' La Mantia); Pinamonti
Subs not used: Furlan, Ujkani, Romagnoli, Tonelli, Verre, Fiamozzi, Stulac, Cutrone
Szczesny; Danilo, Bonucci, de Ligt, Pellegrini; Cuadrado, Zakaria (37' Locatelli), Arthur, Rabiot; Vlahovic, Kean (62' Morata)
Subs not used: Perin, Pinsoglio, De Sciglio, Miretti, Akè, Soulè
ASSISTANTS: Palermo, Perrotti
FOURTH OFFICIAL: Fourneau
VAR: Valerio, Muto
BOOKINGS: 50' Ismajli (E), 73' Parisi (E)