31 August 2022
The first midweek appointment of the Serie A 22/23 season saw Spezia visit the Allianz Stadium. The visitors adopted a give-nothing-away philosophy but Juventus, boosted by the imminent arrival of new signing Leandro Paredes at the stadium, went into the interval in front thanks once again to some dead-ball brilliance from Dušan Vlahović. The points were wrapped up by Arek Milik in stoppage time with his first goal in the black and white stripes as Juventus collected a fifth win from five meetings against the Ligurian outfit.
DUSAN STEPS UP TO THE MARK (AGAIN)
As if to prove Saturday’s sublime free-kick finish was no one-off, Dušan Vlahović repeated the feat to break the deadlock against Spezia. Again the goal came early, this time on nine minutes, again Juan Cuadrado was fouled in the build up.
Vlahović was then involved in almost every Juventus attack in the remainder of the first half as they sought to unsettle a well-drilled Spezia side intent on following coach Luca Gotti’s instructions to press and close down. On 27’, the striker beat the offside trap, peeling off his marker on the run down the right flank. His low cross was met by defender Jakub Kiwior, who was grateful to see the ball go over his own crossbar.
Two minutes later, Dušan met a Cuadrado corner, but powered his header over.
In the last 10 minutes of the first half, Spezia came out of their shell and forced a corner after Bremer had blocked a dangerous cross. The Brazilian was partnered at the heart of the defence by Federico Gatti. On his Serie A debut, the 24 year old never put a foot wrong.
It was from a Spezia corner that Juventus were forced to change their initial 11, however, when Wojciech Szczęsny landed awkwardly, twisting his ankle. Mattia Perin took over in goal as the Polish goalkeeper was taken off on a stretcher.
DI MARIA BACK IN ACTION
The second half started with a flash of brilliance from Fabio Miretti, who made space for himself with some fine footwork at the edge of the penalty box, only to see his shot charged down for a corner. The 19 year old would take advantage of a change of mind on the bench that saw him play until the final whistle when he set up the side’s second goal with another glimpse of his unquestionable skill.
Before Juve made sure of the points in stoppage time, however, Vlahović came close to adding to his first half effort with a header that Bartłomiej Drągowski saved on his goal line.
Ángel Di María made his return to action but it was another substitution that proved pivotal. Arek Milik replaced Vlahović with five minutes to play. Weston McKennie was supposed to come on for Miretti but Bremer was taken off instead, with Alex Sandro taking over for his fellow Brazilian defender.
MILIK OFF THE MARK
In the second minute of time added on, Miretti broke free down the right. His cross was controlled by Milik, who spun inside the box before drilling his shot low into the net. His first goal for Juventus made him the club’s 350th scorer in Serie A, but more importantly it ensured Juventus would finish the match with the three points.
JUVENTUS 2-0 SPEZIA (HT: 1-0)
SCORERS: 9’ Vlahović (J), 90’+2 Milik (J)
JUVENTUS: Szczesny (43' Perin); Danilo, Gatti, Bremer (85' Alex Sandro), De Sciglio; Miretti, Locatelli, Rabiot; Cuadrado (54' Kostic), Vlahovic (85' Milik), Kean (55' Di Maria).
Subs not used: Pinsoglio, McKennie Rugani, Zakaria, Soulé, Fagioli.
SPEZIA: Dragowski; Hristov, Kiwior, Nikolau; Holm (85' Ellertsson), Kovalenko (60' Agudelo), Bourabia (85' Sanca), Bastoni (72' Sala), Reca; Gyasi (60' Strelec), Nzola.
Subs not used: Zoet, Zovko, Beck, Caldara, Sher.
ASSISTANTS: Scatragli, Marchi.
FOURTH OFFICIAL: Valeri.
VAR: Nasca, Longo.
BOOKINGS: 11’ Bastoni (S), 73’ Holm (S), 90’+1 Allegri (J).