Debutants Dusan Vlahovic and Denis Zakaria both hit the net as Juventus comfortably held on for victory over Verona.
The big-money signing from Fiorentina looked dangerous from the first minute and he made no mistake when Pablo Dybala played him through on the right hand side of the field and, as Lorenzo Montipo raced out of his goal, Vlahovic coolly lobbed over the keeper and into the net.
He could have added to his account if he had converted fine crosses from Alvaro Morata and Juan Cuadrado, but he showed more than enough to show the Juventus tifosi they need not worry about finding the net anymore.
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Morara created the second for Zakaria just after the hour mark and the January signing from Borussia Monchengladbach made no mistake waiting for the keeper to go to ground before sliding the ball inside the far corner.
Although Verona had a lot of play in the second half they never really threatened to deny Juventus the victory which lifts them up into fourth in Serie A.
TALKING POINT – Juventus can look to the future
It has been a strange 18 months for the Old Lady of Italian football since they secured the Covid-interrupted 2019/20 title – their ninth in succession. Financial issues forced them to appreciate what it is like to be an also-ran, barely qualifying for the Champions League last term.
Cristiano Ronaldo leaving the club was the end of the last project and they have been in flux until now when the arrival of Vlahovic, and to a lesser extent Zakaria, will make their fans believe they can rival any team in the country once more. It will be too late to win the league this season but next year they are certain to be back where they belong, knee-deep in contention once more.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Alvaro Morata (Juventus) The striker has faced criticism for netting just five goals in Serie A so far this season but his performance tonight showed the benefits of Vlahovic’s arrival will not just be counted in the Serb’s goal tally. With a spearhead to play around, Morata tirelessly ran either side of him and provided quality chances. These included his perfect set up of Denis Zakaria’s goal and a lovely left-wing cross which should have seen Vlahovic’s second of him.
Denis Zakaria of Juventus celebrates after scoring to give the side a 2-0 lead during the Serie A match between Juventus and Hellas Verona FC at Allianz Stadium on February 06, 2022 in Turin, Italy. (Photo by Jonathan Moscrop/Getty Images)
Image credit: Getty Images
Juventus: Szczesny 6; Danilo 7, De Ligt 7, Chiellini 6, De Sciglio 6; Zakaria 7, Arthur 7, Rabiot 7; Dybala 7; Vlahović 7, Morata 8*.
Subs: Square 6, Rugani 6, McKennie 7, Kean 6.
Verona: Montype 7; Gunter 7, Ceccherini 6, Casale 6; Depaoli 6, Miguel Veloso 6, Ilic 7, Lazovic 7; Barak 6, Tameze 7; Lasagna 6.
Subs: Bessa 6, Kalinic 6, Retsos 6, Sutalo 6, Praszelik 6.
7′ Dybala’s backheel set up Vlahovic… And he hit a rocket with his left foot from 20 yards which the Verona stopper pushed away on the stretch.
13′ GOAL FOR JUVENTUS! And Vlahovic has opened his account for the Old Lady with a sublime finish. Dybala played a ball over the defense for him and with the keeper coming a long way out of his goal Vlahovic lobbed the ball over him from just outside the right edge of the penalty area.
38′ Vlahovic so close to a second! Dybala plays in Morata who crosses for the new Juve hero but he guides his effort just wide of the target.
61′ GOAL FOR JUVENTUS! The other debutant scores. A fantastic turn and pass from Morata finds him alone on the right hand side running into the box and he made no mistake sliding home calmly.
1 – Vlahovic scores his first in a Juventus shirt, his 18th in Serie A this season.
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.