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Juve roars back to life against Cagliari

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The Bianconeri opened the Serie A campaign up in magnificent fashion against the Sardinians.

Head coach Massimiliano Allegri picked a very familiar starting eleven featuring a team with none of the summer signings on the pitch. Federico Bernardeschi, Douglas Costa, Mattia De Sciglio and Blaise Matuidi all began their Juventus stints from the bench at the newly christened Allianz Stadium.

Early in the match, Mario Mandzukic hammered home a half volley, assisted by Stephan Lichtsteiner. This buoyed the Bianconeri to playing more confidently with the ball at their feet. The crisp passing and overwhelming possession often pinned the Sardi back deep into their defensive lines.

In the 39th minute, history was made in Serie A as referee Fabio Maresca called for a VAR review on a potential foul in the box by Alex Sandro. The decision was made to award Cagliari a penalty, the first time in the league’s history a call had been made by the ever-so controversial VAR.

Diego Farias stepped up to take the penalty, facing Gianluigi Buffon. The Italian icon parried the shot away, giving Buffon another record in his illustrious career.

Right before the end of the half, Paulo Dybala was picked out by Miralem Pjanic and beat the keeper up the middle. In general, Dybala played an excellent game from start to literally the final whistle. For the new #10, this was an excellent display and baptism in his new ‘persona’.

Gonzalo Higuain got in on the action midway through the second half as he increased Juve’s lead to three after some fine passing by the Bianconeri midfield. Everything that had been missing during preseason and the Supercoppa suddenly came back to life, especially in the midfield.

New boys Douglas Costa and Blaise Matuidi performed well, especially the Frenchman who looked sharp in his roughly half-hour cameo.

Other strong performers include Giorgio Chiellini and Daniele Rugani, who the latter looked poised to usurp Bonucci’s role in the defense. In Allegri’s 4-2-3-1, there’s only room for two central defenders, and Rugani will have to fight against Benatia and Barzagli for that role. Performances like today will definitely boost his stock with Allegri.

 

Juventus: Buffon; Lichtsteiner, Rugani, Chiellini, Alex Sandro; Marchisio, Pjanic; Cuadrado, Dybala, Mandzukic; Higuain. Coach: Allegri.

Cagliari: Cragno; Faragò, Pisacane, Andreolli, Capuano; Padoin, Cigarini, Barella, Ionita; Farias, Cop. Coach: Rastelli.

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