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Allegri begins Juve title defence with win

30 Aug 2014 21:46:51

Allegri begins Juve title defence with win

Massimiliano Allegri silenced the doubters as champions Juventus beat Chievo 1-0 in the former AC Milan coach's first Serie A game in charge of the Old Lady of Turin.

Last season's runners-up Roma also began with a victory as Rudi Garcia's team beat Fiorentina 2-0, with Radja Nainggolan and Gervinho grabbing the goals.

Juventus, who replaced three-time Scudetto winning coach Antonio Conte in the close season, outclassed Eugenio Corini's men but could only manage a sixth minute Cristiano Biraghi own-goal.

New boss Allegri -- an unpopular signing with many bianconeri fans -- gave 18-year-old summer signing from Paris Saint-Germain, Kingsley Coman, a surprising start as he partnered Carlos Tevez in attack. Pleasingly, the youngster took full advantage with a confident display in Verona.

"Coman played like a veteran," Allegri said. "He handled the game with a lot of personality, but is only 18 so we will let him develop.

"I was a little worried by the amount of chances we missed. We only gave away one opportunity and have to thank Buffon who saved us.

"There is still room for us to improve despite the good performance."

Coman's strike partner Tevez had the first opportunity of the match but dragged his shot wide of Francesco Bardi's right-hand post.

Coman then got in on the action, following some splendid control from a Paul Pogba long ball, he tested Bardi with a fizzing shot from the left, but the former Inter goalkeeper easily tipped the ball away for a corner.

It was from another corner that Juventus took the lead. Tevez floated the ball in from the left and a poorly positioned Bardi was stranded as Martin Caceres rocketed a header against the defender and into the net.

The home side did have one chance of note midway through the first half as Valter Birsa burst into the Bianconeri half on the left, his through-ball sending Ezequiel Schelotto in on goal, but the 25-year-old's long range effort trickled wide of Gianluigi Buffon's right-hand upright.

Just before the break Juventus should have doubled their advantage. First Tevez hit the crossbar from six-yards, then Leonardo Bonucci hit the woodwork again with a looping header.

The second half saw more of the same from Juventus and, just a minute in, Coman almost made it 2-0 with a fantastic curling effort from outside the penalty area.

He was again denied on the hour mark as his powerful header from 12 yards went inches over.

Fifteen minutes from time, Maxi Lopez had a magnificent chance for Chievo. The former Sampdoria man was in the right place at the right time with the ball bobbling in he box, but unmarked on the six-yard line, he was denied by Buffon.

Later on, Roma broke the deadlock just before the half hour as Nainggolan picked up a loose ball in the midfield then drove towards the Fiorentina goal. The Belgian played a delightful through-ball for Gervinho, but the Ivorian could only fire straight at goalkeeper Neto. Luckily for Roma, Nainggolan continued his run and smashed the ball through a melee of players into an empty net.

In the second half, Roma goalkeeper Morgan De Sanctis was called into action twice in the space of two minutes as Fiorentina upped their game. First, a Josip Ilicic free kick needed to be tipped onto the crossbar, before a low five-yard Khouma Babacar snap-shot was palmed round the post.

Despite finding more of a rhythm in the final ten minutes, Fiorentina were unable to find an equaliser, and paid as Gervinho secured a Giallorossi win with an incisive counter attack, slotting past a stranded Neto.

"We played a good game against Fiorentina, a team which has possession as its strong point," Garcia told Sky Sport Italia.

"In the first hour I saw an aggressive side, pushing high up the field.

"Luckily, when there was a decrease in energy, we had the excellent Morgan De Sanctis, who saved the result on two occasions."


AFP

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