19 February 2023
Juventus collected a 15th clean sheet from their 23 Serie A matches this season with a 2-0 win at the Alberto Picco stadium in Spezia.
Moise Kean opened the scoring just after the half-hour mark. With a quarter of the match remaining, Ángel Di María displayed all of his class with the second goal, which killed off the contest.
Juve’s return to Serie A duty after midweek Europa League commitments saw the team undergo a mini-makeover. Mattia Perin took over in goal, Daniele Rugani replaced the suspended Bremer at the heart of defence, while Moise Kean led the line in attack. In midfield, Leandro Paredes joined Adrien Rabiot and Manuel Locatelli.
The latter was booked after a mere 18 seconds into the game for a late lunge in the centre of the park. A yellow card that will see the number 5 miss out on the Derby della Mole next week.
It was an even first-half on the tight pitch at the Alberto Picco, with Spezia playing an intense pressing game under caretaker coach Fabio Lorieri.
Daniele Verde had the first shot on target, a tame effort on 10 minutes that did little to worry Perin.
On 17’ instead Juve had the ball in the net. Vlahović raced onto a defence-splitting pass to poke the ball between the legs of Bartłomiej Drągowski. The flag was raised, however, and the goal was disallowed. In attempting the save, the Spezia keeper picked up an injury and was replaced by veteran Federico Marchetti.
For the 40-year-old, it was his first action since August 2021. His first involvement was from a corner, met by Danilo, whose header flashed just wide, with Vlahović sliding in at the far post but he arrived just too late to apply the finishing touch..
With their next attack, Juve took the lead. Paredes created space for himself in midfield. The Argentine invited Filip Kostić to progress down the flank. The winger whipped in his cross and Kean on the volley directed the ball in at the far post. It was the striker’s first league goal in 2023.
Although Eldor Shomurodov reached a couple of crosses, his headers were comfortably dealt with by Perin.
A mix-up by Paredes and Kostić gifted Spezia another opportunity before the half-time whistle but home captain Emmanuel Gyasi couldn’t reach the delivery at the far post.
Nicolò Fagioli and Mattia De Sciglio were brought on immediately after the break as Juve continued to hold back wave after wave of Spezia attack.
The Bianconeri dug deep at the edge of their penalty area and allowed the home side little in the way of clear cut chances despite intense pressure. Locatelli and Danilo made two important blocks.
Then, with a quarter of the match remaining, Juve added a second. Ángel Di María received possession at the edge of the area and on looking up, drilled a low shot beyond Marchetti into the far corner.
The Bianconeri had doubled their lead with their second shot on target.
With a two-goal cushion to defend, Perin stepped up to the mark.
First Gyasi met a cross from the right. His volley was destined for the back of the net until the Bianconeri keeper at full stretch tipped the ball away. A similar save was required 10 minutes later, this time to deny Dimitris Nikolaou’s header.
Juve ensured that Spezia had no way back into the contest in the closing minutes as they collected a fourth clean sheet in their six wins over the Ligurian side in Serie A.
SPEZIA 0-2 JUVENTUS (HT: 0-1)
Scorers: 32' Kean (J); 66' Di Maria (J)
SPEZIA: Dragowski (25' Marchetti); Amian, Ampadu, Nikolaou; Gyasi, Bourabia, Ekdal (79' Caldara), Agudelo (59' Nzola), Reca; Verde (79' Maldini), Shomurodov. Subs not used: Zovko, Beck, Krollis, Ferrer, Kovalenko, Wisniewski, Giorgeschi, Cipot. Coach: Lorieri.
JUVENTUS: Perin; Danilo, Rugani, Alex Sandro; Cuadrado (46' De Sciglio), Locatelli, Paredes (46' Fagioli), Rabiot, Kostić (81' Iling-Junior); Kean (56' Di Maria), Vlahović (92' Bonucci). Subs not used: Szczęsny, Pinsoglio, Gatti, Soulé, Barrenechea. Coach: Allegri.
Referee: La Penna.
BOOKINGS: 1' Locatelli (J); 16' Agudelo (S); 51' Fagioli (J); 55' Reca (S)