Juventus maintained their 100 per cent start to their Serie A campaign with a hard-fought victory over Lazio on Saturday night, Sami Khedira’s second-half strike proving the difference between the sides as the visitors dug deep for a 1-0 triumph in the capital.
An evenly matched encounter came to life in the second half when, following a flurry of Bianconeri opportunities, Khedira finally made the reigning champions’ pressure count on 66 minutes courtesy of a cool finish into the bottom corner.
The hosts rallied and threw caution to the wind in their quest for a way back into the encounter, but Massimiliano Allegri’s rearguard held firm to see out an important three points in their final game ahead of September’s international break.
Featuring Medhi Benatia for Leonardo Bonucci as the only change from last Saturday’s 2-1 opening day win over Fiorentina, Juventus found themselves on the defensive during the early exchanges but did fashion the first chance of the game on eight minutes, Paulo Dybala seeing his header saved by Federico Marchetti.
Massimiliano Allegri had used his pre-match press conference to warn of the threat posed by the Biancocelesti on the counter and the visitors were almost caught short when, on 23 minutes, a quick break saw the ball worked towards Ciro Immobile at the back post, only for Benatia to save the day with a perfectly timed interception.
Sparing the hosts’ blushes down the other end was Marchetti, who prevented Asamoah’s unorthodox effort in the area from looping inside his near post 11 minutes later.
The second half saw Juventus lift the tempo and, following a sustained period of pressure in the Lazio half, they fashioned two golden chances with 57 minutes on the clock. The first came courtesy of Mario Mandzukic’s volley in the area, beaten away by the gloves of Marchetti, before Dybala’s fine left-footed follow-up rolled agonisingly wide of the upright.
Five minutes later it was Khedira’s deflected cross-cum-shot that had Biancocelesti pulses racing, with Mandzukic inches away from providing the required touch at the back post.
That was the Croat’s final contribution of the evening, Gonzalo Higuain joining the action on 66 minutes as Allegri repeated the move that proved decisive in yielding last weekend’s winner.
While lightning didn’t strike twice as far as the Argentine was concerned, it did in the case of Khedira, who netted his second goal in as many games with a precise finish beyond Marchetti from inside the area just seconds after Higuain had entered the fray.
As expected, Lazio upped the pressure as they searched for an equaliser, but last season’s meanest Serie A rearguard showed no signs of buckling and duly held firm to close out a thoroughly deserved victory.
Napoli win 4-2 against AC Milan
Napoli win an entertaining match against AC Milan on the Match Day 2 of the Serie A. At the end of the 90 minutes’ coach Sarri’s boys win 4-2 against the Rossoneri who did not play with continuity. Tough Montella’s team had a great reaction and came back from two goals behind with Niang and Suso’.
Vincenzo Montella confirms nine players that won against Torino. Only changes in the first XI are De Sciglio for Antonelli and Gomez for Paletta (suspended). Up front the usual forward line with Niang, Bacca and Suso. After a mediocre start, Napoli score on their first chance: Mertens’ curved shot from the distance is parried by Donnarumma, but Milik, on the rebound finds the goal that give Napoli the lead. On 32’ Mertens finds the young AC Milan on his way to prevent him from scoring. But on the following corner kick, Milik scores the 2-0 goal with a fine header.
AC Milan’s reaction comes immediately in the second half. On 51’ Niang nutmegs Hysaj and with a fine shot to the far post beats Reina. This is the prelude to the 2-2: Suso on 55’ scores with a stunning shot under the crossbar from outside the box. The match is entertaining and both the teams play to win it. On 74’ the event that gives Napoli the lead once again. In the 74’ Mertens shoots from the left and Calejon receives Donnarumma’s rebound to score the 3-2. Few minutes later Kucka and Niang are shown a red card by the referee Valeri. With AC Milan two men down, the game is almost over. There’s though still time for a Napoli counter attack: Insigne passes the ball to Callejon who finds the net for the 4-2 that ends the match.
After the match, Montella said: “We must work to improve to handle those moments where you have to be clever, try to understand when you can have some small advantages. Napoli understood this, we didn’t. I don’t like the players being so nervous, because we end up playing one or two men down. There were some episodes where also Napoli could have received a red card as well, but this is our fault. In the clou moment we decided, maybe subconsciously, the draw was ok, we were playing better than Napoli physically and mentally”.
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