Pjanic and Mandzukic seal winning home debut

Pjanic and Mandzukic seal winning home debut
Pjanic and Mandzukic seal winning home debut
Pjanic and Mandzukic seal winning home debut

Miralem Pjanic struck a sumptuous opener and Mario Mandzukic added another late on as Juve made it two from two with a hard-earned victory over Lazio in their first home game of the season.

Massimiliano Allegri opted to beef up his starting XI compared to the side that began the game against Chievo and left Paulo Dybala, Douglas Costa and Juan Cuadrado on the bench initially. Blaise Matuidi, Miralem Pjanic and Sami Khedira lined up in midfield while the front three was formed by Federico Bernardeschi, Mario Mandzukic and Cristiano Ronaldo.

The Portuguese star – making his home debut in the black-and-white stripes – alternated between the left flank and the centre forward role, switching positions with Mandzukic. Bernardeschi meanwhile would drop into midfield when Juve weren't in possession with the side switching to a traditional 4-4-2.


Juve began the match at a lively pace, albeit with a few too many sloppy passes in the early stages of the game, while Lazio looked to keep things tidy and play on the break.

The first chance fell to the visitors and Wojciech Szczesny had to be alert to turn Senad Lulic's effort behind for a corner.

Down the other end Ronaldo couldn't quite connect with Matuidi's lay-off; Khedira did though and hit a thunderous effort which cannoned off the right-hand upright. Bernardeschi kept the ball in play and skipped past a couple of Lazio shirts being letting fly with a curling effort which Thomas Strakosha managed to put behind for a corner.

The opener came on the half-hour mark and it was a thing of beauty.

Ronaldo started the move, Bernardeschi crossed and Mandzukic knocked the ball down. It bounced up for Pjanic and the Bosnian displayed fabulous technique to connect with the purest of strikes as the ball fizzed it into the bottom corner beyond the keeper's reach.


Lazio continued to play on the break and tried their luck from range as they sought a route back into the game. Ciro Immobile and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic both sent efforts wide and Szczesny had to race off his line to beat Marco Parolo to the ball.

Leo Bonucci earned himself applause with an authoritative display at the back while Ronaldo was keen to impress up front and soon saw another effort smothered by Strakosha.

Lazio had a decent chance to equalise on the stroke of half time but Parolo sent his header over, so the Bianconeri took a 1-0 lead in at the break.


Juve almost made it 2-0 five minutes after the restart when Ronaldo performed a trademark stepover and centred for Mandzukic in the six-yard box, but the Croat was unable to get a clean hit on it.

Lazio were bossing possession now as they upped the pressure in search of an equaliser – they almost got one too when Luis Alberto sent a shot narrowly wide.

Allegri threw on Douglas Costa in place of Bernardeschi and Juve started to get balls into the box again. Giorgio Chiellini and Ronaldo got on the end of two of them, with neither managing to find the net.

Emre Can came on for is home debut midway through the half, replacing Pjanic.

A minute later Ronaldo showed a glimpse of the magic fans love to see as he turned Adam Marusic and unleashed a vicious strike which Strakosha got just enough on to tip over.

You could see the Portuguese was desperate to score and it was almost laid on a plate for him 15 minutes from time. Douglas Costa and Joao Cancelo linked up brilliantly on the right and the defender pinged a low delivery towards the onrushing Ronaldo. With the goal at his mercy, he looked odds on to open his Juve account but the ball ended up clipping his heel. Fortunately, Mandzukic was on hand to slam the loose ball into the net and wrap up the points.

Ronaldo's time will come. All that really mattered was getting another three hard-earned points on the board.


SCORERS: Pjanic 30', Mandzukic 75'.


Szczesny; Cancelo, Bonucci, Chiellini, Alex Sandro; Khedira (85' Bentancur), Pjanic (69' Emre Can), Matuidi; Bernardeschi (60' Douglas Costa), Mandzukic, Cristiano Ronaldo. Subs not used: Perin, Pinsoglio, Benatia, Rugani, Barzagli, Cuadrado, Dybala. Coach: Allegri.

LAZIO Strakosha; Radu, Acerbi, Wallace; Marusic, Parolo (64' Badelj), Lucas Leiva, Milinkovic-Savic (79' Durmisi), Lulic; Luis Alberto (64' Correa); Immobile. Subs not used: Proto, Guerrieri, Caceres, Basta, Bastos, Murgia, Cataldi, Caicedo, Rossi Coach: Inzaghi REFEREE: Irrati. ASSISTANTS: Tegoni, Peretti. FOURTH OFFICIAL: Mariani. VAR OPERATORS: Guida, Carbone.

BOOKED: 46' Alex Sandro, 53' Parolo, 65' Milinkovic-Savic, 80' Douglas Costa, 87' Emre Can.

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