Juventus beats Udinese 2-0 on Allegri’s home debut
MILAN (AP) — Juventus showed little has changed since Massimiliano Allegri took charge as it eased to a 2-0 win against Udinese on Saturday in the former AC Milan coach’s home debut.
Carlos Tevez scored in the eighth minute and Claudio Marchisio secured the points in the 75th to make it two Serie A wins out of two for Allegri, who started with a 1-0 victory at Chievo Verona before the international break.
Juventus dominated and was rarely troubled, although the three-time defending champion was almost made to pay for its profligacy in front of goal when Igor Bubnjic had the ball in the back of the net, but it was ruled out for offside.
“It was emotional to come out for the first time as coach in this fantastic stadium,” Allegri said. “The crowd is an added weapon, and the fans helped the team in our moment of difficulty.
“The team started very well, we had to break the deadlock early because we knew they defend well and are dangerous on the counterattack. But we should have closed the match in the first half. Instead, we suffered at the start of the second, but it was a good test, and we even had more chances after we made it 2-0.”
Earlier, Roma also maintained its perfect start to the fledgling season with a 1-0 win at newly promoted Empoli.
Both teams open their Champions League campaigns next week. Juventus hosts Malmo on Tuesday, while Rome entertains CSKA Moscow the following day.
Juventus was struggling with injury problems with Arturo Vidal joining the likes of Andrea Pirlo and Giorgio Chiellini on the sidelines.
Tevez shook off a thigh muscle injury to start, and opened the scoring early on when Stephan Lichtsteiner pulled the ball back from the byline for the Argentine to rush into the area and slot past Orestis Karnezis.
Roberto Pereyra, who moved from Udinese in the offseason, almost scored against his former team on the half hour but he blasted a good ball from Fernando Llorente over the bar.
Udinese’s only real sight of goal came in the 67th minute when Bubnjic thought he levelled for Udinese, only for his effort to be ruled out for a tight offside decision.
As Juventus started to come under pressure, Tevez helped seal the game by rolling the ball across for Marchisio to blast into the bottom near corner from outside the area.
Tevez came off shortly afterward to a standing ovation.
Alvaro Morata, who had been sidelined after getting injured in his first Juventus training session, was handed his debut in the 89th, and he almost scored with a swivelling shot which Karnezis did well to save.
In Tuscany, Radja Nainggolan, who scored in Roma’s opening 2-0 victory over Fiorentina, forced an own goal from Empoli goalkeeper Luigi Sepe. The Belgium international’s fierce strike on the stroke of halftime came off the left upright and went in off Sepe’s back.
Maicon, who was sent home from the Brazil squad for disciplinary reasons during the week, should have scored minutes earlier when Florenzi nodded across Nainggolan’s diagonal pass, but he fired onto the right upright from close range under pressure.
Both sides had penalty appeals turned down in a hotly contested match which saw Empoli coach Maurizio Sarri sent to the stands for protesting.
Empoli has lost both of its opening matches, following its 2-0 defeat at Udinese.
“What’s important is that we won at a difficult place like this one,” Nainggolan said. “We need to always get the three points to aim high. It took a lot out of us physically. Empoli fights, and they had an added incentive that they were facing a great team like Roma.”
Roma rested the likes of captain Francesco Totti and pacey strikers Gervinho and Juan Iturbe.