An Alex Sandro diving header and two quickfire goals from Paulo Dybala and Alvaro Morata on the stroke of half-time hand Juventus a 3-0 win over Malmo in their Champions League Group H opener.
The comfortable victory against the Allsvenskan champions is Massimiliano Allegri’s first win as Juve boss since returning to the Serie A club in July.
Opinion: Life after Ronaldo sees Juventus confront bigger problems
12/09/2021 AT 16:44
Malmo started the better of the two sides as Juventus looked nervy, but against the run of play the Old Lady took the lead through a Sandro diving header in the 23rd minute.
Juan Cuadrado’s cross into the box was flicked on by Rodrigo Bentancur at the near post into the path of the wingback to turn into the net.
Sandro could have got his second four minutes later after he masterfully chested down a long diagonal ball from Leonardo Bonucci, but the Brazil international poked his effort agonisingly wide of Ismael Diawara’s left post.
Juventus grew in confidence and extended their lead on the stroke of half-time after Morata was brought down in the box under a challenge from Lasse Nielsen. After a lengthy VAR review to see if Morata was offside, the penalty stood. Dybala slipped as he took his spot-kick, but fortunately for the Argentine it went in through Diawara’s legs.
And just seconds later Juve found themselves three goals up. A goal-kick was nodded into the path of Adrien Rabiot who flicked on for Morata to place into the top corner off his shin.
Morata and Dybala both fired shots on goal from distance which forced Diawara into two good saves, while for the hosts substitute Martin Olsson saw his low drive excellently denied by Wojciech Szczesny in injury-time.
But the job was already done for Juve in the first half as Malmo failed to mount a comeback.
TALKING POINT – Allegri off the mark, but work to do
Juventus got their business done early against a Malmo side who simply lacked the quality required to get back into the match having gone three goals down before half-time.
The victory will be a relief to Allegri who has seen his side draw one and lose two since returning to the club, but a team stronger than Malmo may well have capitalised on Juventus’ shaky defending early on in the match.
After only four games Allegri has tinkered a lot with his starting XI already and it remains to be seen whether Morata and Dybala will continue as a strike partnership, but the pair did link up well on a comfortable night in Sweden.
MAN OF THE MATCH – Ismael Diawara
The Malmo goalkeeper saw eight shots on goal fired at him and despite conceding three goals, the Mali international still had an excellent game.
Diawara is playing in his debut season for the Allsvenskan champions having moved from Degefors earlier this year and produced plenty of high quality saves to stop the contest from turning into a drubbing.
Juventus: Szczesny (6), Danilo (6), De Ligt (6), Bonucci (7), Sandro (7), Cuadrado (7), Locatelli (7), Bentancur (7), Rabiot (6), Dybala (7), Morata (7)
Subs: McKennie (5), Kean (6), Ramsey (5), Kulusevski (N/A), Rugani (N/A)
Malmo: Diawara (8), Berget (5), Ahmedhodzic (6), Nielsen (6), Brorsson (6), Rieks (6), Rakip (5), Innocent (5), Christiansen (5), Birmancevic (5), Colak (5)
Subs: Nalic (5), Abubakari (6), Nanasi (N/A), Olsson (N/A)
23′ – GOAL!! Sandro has found the net! Against the run of play Juventus lead! Cuadrado whips a ball into the near post which Bentancur flicks on into the path of the Brazilian at the far post, who directs his diving header into the back of the net!
27′ – BIG CHANCE! Sandro should have had a second goal! A beautiful long ball to the left flank from Bonucci is chested down by the left-back ahead of Berget, but he stabs his effort agonisingly wide of Diawara’s left post.
42′ – PENALTY TO JUVENTUS! Morata goes down in the box under a challenge from Nielsen and the Danish defender is booked for his troubles. BUT HANG ON… VAR is checking to see if Morata was offside.
44′ – GOAL! Dybala fires his spot-kick straight down the middle and Juventus extend their lead on the stroke of half-time! The Serie A side look very comfortable now and Allegri looks to be on his way to his first win back as Juventus boss.
45′ – ANOTHER GOAL!! Juventus have a third and it is Morata with it! A goal-kick comes down to Rabiot, he flicks the ball into the path of the Spaniard and he lofts the ball into the top corner off his shin! Just like that Juve are three up!
90+2′ – GOOD SAVE! Olsson fires a low shot on goal, forcing Szczesny into a smart save low down to his left.
Napoli strike late to down Juventus
11/09/2021 AT 15:40
Mario Mandzukic retires from football aged 35
03/09/2021 AT 16:32