Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala help Juventus ease past Chievo
Argentina stars Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala combined to steer Serie A champions Juventus to a 3-0 victory over Chievo in Turin.
The Bianconeri were dominant but wasteful across a first half in which Chievo midfielder Perparim Hetemaj gave them the lead through an unfortunate own goal.
Juve boss Massimiliano Allegri introduced Dybala from the bench following the break and the tricky forward inspired Higuain’s fine finish before rubber-stamping the three points himself.
After dispatching Chievo, the Champions League finalists face the trickier prospect of a European curtain-raiser against Barcelona at the Nou Camp on Tuesday night.
Juve flattered to deceive in their last league outing before the international break, a 4-2 comeback victory at Genoa, and so they needed to start convincingly here.
To that end Miralem Pjanic whipped in an early cross that Higuain pinged back into the box, only for the Chievo defence to clear.
Alessandro Gamberini stopped Higuain pulling the trigger when he was in a good position to score and the Argentinian soon set up Stefano Sturaro for a shot that flew well over the crossbar.
Juve got their opener in the 17th minute as Pjanic’s free-kick to the near post confused Hetemaj, the Finn nodding the ball beyond Stefano Sorrentino in his panicked bid to clear the danger.
Chievo did not hang their heads, though, and Valter Birsa found Manuel Pucciarelli for a solid chance before teeing up Ivan Radovanovic for a drive that Wojciech Szczesny did well to parry.
Pjanic rattled the bar with a trademark rocket as the half-hour mark drew near and his new team-mate Blaise Matuidi tried to repeat the trick, instead fizzing the ball past a post.
Just before the break Pucciarelli got Szczesny working with a weak finish — the Pole was making his Juve debut following a summer switch from Arsenal, thus affording Gianluigi Buffon a timely rest ahead of the Barca test to come.
Chievo remained bright and willing when play resumed — until the 58th minute at least.
Substitute Dybala, on for the ineffective Douglas Costa, found Pjanic who slid the ball forward for Higuain to blast into the top corner.
Dybala then tried to make a more direct impact on the match by dribbling past the entire Chievo team, only falling short when the last man took the ball from his feet.
The scorer of the third goal looked predestined and indeed it was Dybala who scored it, the former Palermo man weaving his way past three yellow shirts before slotting past Sorrentino.