Juventus completed what they had begun in 2016 on Sunday night as a brace from Gonzalo Higuain and a first-half Paulo Dybala penalty set up a comfortable 3-0 win over Bologna.
The victory marked not only the Bianconeri’s first success of 2017 but more importantly, their 26th in a row at Juventus Stadium, a new club record streak that began against the same opposition 462 days ago.
And, right from kick off, Massimiliano Allegri’s men made sure that it would be a case of New Year, same Old Lady at Juventus Stadium.
Accordingly, the reigning champions needed just seven minutes to breach the Bologna defence, none other than Gonzalo Higuain ghosting into the box to fire Miralem Pjanic’s clipped through ball past Antonio Mirante for his 11th league goal of the season.
The Argentine perhaps ought to have made it 12 moments later, heading wide of the target from a good position having been picked out by Sami Khedira’s searching back-post cross but would not make the same mistake again in the second period.
Pipita’s pair of opportunities apart, the home side struggled to make any further headway against a tightly packed and deep defensive line, Claudio Marchisio’s long-range drive the only other clear sight of goal from open play.
With the scores seemingly locked at 1-0 as the game approached the interval, the Bianconeri made their half-time lead a comfortable one on 41 minutes, Paulo Dybala converting from the penalty spot after a foul on Stefano Sturaro.
After the break, it would take a fine intervention from Marios Oikonomou to prevent Higuain from going through on goal after a slick exchange of passes with Pjanic as the hosts picked up from where they left off in the second half.
There was no stopping the Argentine in the next move though, December’s MVP capitalising on some superb wing play by Stephan Lichtsteiner to head into an unguarded net for his second and Juve’s third of the night.
Chances for a fourth came and went, the best of which falling to Paulo Dybala after a flowing counter-attack involving substitute Juan Cuadrado and Khedira as the champions ended the evening as they had begun it, firmly in control.
There was even time for a well deserved standing ovation for the night’s star performer Higuain, on his late withdrawal for Mario Mandzukic.
A late debut for Tomas Rincon ensured that all boxes were ticked for the home faithful 10 minutes from time.
Always start a new year you mean to go on…