28 August 2021
Juventus welcomed the fans back to Allianz Stadium but were unable to send them home happy as a stubborn, well-drilled Empoli side claimed all three points. Leonardo Mancuso's first-half finish put the visitors in front then they shut up shop after the interval to record a first-ever win away to Juve.
CHIESA DENIED BY VICARIO
Juve started strong and within minutes of kick-off Guglielmo Vicario had to make his first save of the evening when Alex Sandro played in Federico Chiesa behind the back line.
The Bianconeri were zipping the ball around at pace and Juan Cuadrado – nominally starting in the right-back position – was proving to be a real thorn in Empoli's side with his frequent forays forward.
Meanwhile Chiesa looked almost unplayable at times, like when he set off from midfield with the ball at his feet, skipped past two blue shirts and angled a shot towards the corner, forcing Vicario into another save.
MANCUSO GIVES EMPOLI THE LEAD
Empoli, however, were not content to settle for a bit-part role and sought to exploit the spaces Juve inevitably left them, playing at such a high tempo. Midway through the half Nedim Bajrami spread play out to Filippo Bandinelli, collected the return pass in the box and pulled the trigger; the ball found its way to Mancuso, who was left with the simple task of finishing from a few yards out.
Juve looked to respond instantly but Chiesa was thwarted by Vicario for a third time. Empoli then grew in stature and Patrick Cutrone lashed a fierce effort just wide.
The Bianconeri kept the tempo high but their play began to lack precision and Empoli weren't unduly threatened again before the interval.
JUVE ATTACK, EMPOLI HOLD ON
Juve came out for the restart with Alvaro Morata in place of Weston McKennie but the first chance fell to Empoli, when Nicolas Haas' effort was saved by Wojciech Szczesny.
Paulo Dybala then fired off a low drive from outside the box that Vicario had covered.
The play shifted from one end to the other with Empoli moving the ball around well as Bajrami drew another save out of Szczesny.
Massimilano Allegri rang the changes with Federico Bernardeschi replacing Adrien Rabiot, then Manuel Locatelli and Dejan Kulusevski taking over from Rodrigo Bentancur and Federico Chiesa.
The two newcomers soon fashioned a decent chance for an equaliser, the Swede's cross sent just wide by the former Sassuolo man, but Juve struggled to create much more of note.
Mattia De Sciglio came on for Cuadrado but Empoli kept their heads and Juve at bay, defending resolutely.
The last chance was an angled effort by Locatelli which ended wide – and with it Juve's hopes of salvaging something from the game.
JUVENTUS 0-1 EMPOLI (HT 0-1)
Goal: Mancuso 21
Szczesny; Cuadrado (De Sciglio 82), de Ligt, Bonucci, Alex Sandro; Bentancur (Locatelli 66), Danilo, Rabiot (Bernardeschi 66); McKennie (Morata 46); Dybala, Chiesa (Kulusevski 66).
Subs not used: Perin, Pinsoglio, Chiellini, Pellegrini, Rugani, Fagioli, Ranocchia.
Vicario; Stojanovic, Ismajli, Luperto, Marchizza; Haas, Ricci, Bandinelli (Zurkowski 80); Bajrami (Stulac 70); Mancuso (Pinamonti 72), Cutrone (Henderson 80).
Subs not used: Brignoli, Furlan, Romagnoli, Lamntia, Fiamozzi, Tonelli, Viti, Parisi.
ASSISTANTS: De Meo, Rocca.
FOURTH OFFICIAL: Marcenaro.
VAR: Guida, Ranghetti.
BOOKED: Mancuso 32, Cutrone 44, Ismajli 56, Bernardeschi 81, Danilo 89.