Post subject: Empoli 0 - 3 Juventus
2. Oct 2016, 13:38
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| Juventus took a while to break through in Empoli, then scored three in five minutes with Paulo Dybala and double Gonzalo Higuain.
The Bianconeri were top of the Serie A table and coming off a midweek 4-0 Champions League victory at Dinamo Zagreb, but missed Medhi Benatia, Daniele Rugani, Kwadwo Asamoah and Claudio Marchisio. Juan Cuadrado was given his first start of the season. The hosts surprisingly dropped star player Riccardo Saponara for Rade Krunic, while Vincent Laurini, Andrea Costa and Federico Barba were injured.
The last time Empoli beat Juve in the league was in April 1999, followed by two draws and 10 defeats, home and away, including four losses on the bounce.
Sami Khedira had a great chance after nine minutes when he was not flagged offside, so was allowed to chest and volley on the turn, smacking his shot against the crossbar.
Lukasz Skorupski smothered a Paulo Dybala free kick and Cuadrado risked scoring by accident, as his horribly mis-kicked cross turned into a shot that the goalkeeper had to palm round the near post.
Skorupski also had his gloves stung by a Dybala screamer from distance, but above all performed a stunning reaction save with his foot at the near post when Cuadrado had snuck up behind Manuel Pasqual to go clear on goal with a marvellous Miralem Pjanic ball over the top.
Manuel Pucciarelli did test Gigi Buffon from distance and Cuadrado wasted another counter. It became increasingly open and just before half-time Buffon had to punch a Krune strike from the edge of the box out from under the bar.
Higuain was almost at the by-line when he tried to flick the ball over Skorupski, but Uros Cosic was back to clear off the line.
Straight after the restart, Higuain hesitated on a through pass and eventually had the finish charged down. Pjanic’s free kick was deflected wide and Krunic almost punished Leonardo Bonucci for a poor first touch in the six-yard box.
Higuain had the ball in the net, but Cuadrado was offside when providing the assist. Pipita incredibly also failed to score when a Dybala free kick pinballed around the box, fell kindly for the Argentine and Skorupski parried from point-blank range.
The breakthrough did arrive moments later, as Alex Sandro rolled across from the left for Dybala, who took one touch and smashed it under the bar from 10 yards. It was his second goal of the week after Dinamo Zagreb and his first Serie A strike of the season.
This opened the floodgates and Higuain doubled their lead by surging forward into space and unleashing an unstoppable effort from the edge of the penalty area.
Higuain added another thanks to an absolute gift from Zambelli, whose terrible backpass was intercepted to dribble round the goalkeeper for the third Juventus goal in five minutes.
Skorupski prevented the fourth with a fine save at the near post on Mario Lemina and flew to fingertip a Marko Pjaca curler out from under the bar.
Stefano Sturaro made his first appearance of the season after a long injury lay-off.