Serie A: Juventus thump Sampdoria

Serie A: Juventus thump Sampdoria
Players of Juventus and Sampdoria vie for the ball during their Serie A match.
TURIN, Sep 21 (Agencies) | Publish Date: 9/21/2020 12:35:51 PM IST

Andrea Pirlo got his coaching career off to a winning start as his Juventus side began their quest for a 10th successive Serie A title with a 3-0 win over Sampdoria on Sunday.

Dejan Kulusevski, signed from Atalanta, scored on his debut in the 13th minute with only his sixth touch of the ball in a Juventus shirt before defender Leonardo Bonucci and Cristiano Ronaldo added two more in the last 15 minutes.

Former Milan and Juventus midfielder Pirlo had no senior coaching experience before he was surprisingly chosen to replace Maurizio Sarri in August, and only got his coaching badge last week.

His first match pitted him against one of Serie A’s most experienced and wily characters, 68-year-old Claudio Ranieri.

United States midfielder Weston McKennie, signed from Schalke 04, also made his Juventus debut and Gianluca Frabotta made only his second appearance as Pirlo reshuffled the side.

Like Sunday’s other Serie A matches, a smattering of fans watched the game after the Italian government authorised up to 1,000 spectators at matches for the first time since March.

As expected, Pirlo’s side began with an aggressive high press and the pressure quickly paid off.

Ronaldo burst into the Sampdoria area and, although his run was blocked, the ball ran loose to Kulusevski who curled a precise low shot into the far corner.

Ronaldo also smacked his shot against the crossbar and then sidefooted wide following a neat exchange of passes as Juve dominated possession.

But, as expected from a Ranieri team, Sampdoria, who spent most of last season in the drop zone, were awkward opponents and it took Juventus until the last 15 minutes to finish them off. Sampdoria failed to clear a corner, McKennie’s effort was saved by Emil Audero, Bonucci snapped up the rebound and celebrated with his familiar gesture that suggests his critics should wash their mouths out.

Ten minutes later, Aaron Ramsey released Ronaldo and the Portuguese opened his account for the season by drilling his shot into the far corner.

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