Giorgio Chiellini scored the first goal of Serie A 2019-2020. A heel-kick by Juventus’ captain helped the Bianconeri move past Parma at the Ennio Tardini Stadium to capture the first three points on their quest towards the ninth Scudetto in a row.
An old-school version of Juventus, deprived of its brand-new, pneumonia-stricken coach Maurizio Sarri, and featuring none of their highly-priced newcomers, put its head ahead in the 21st minute, then controlled the game against Roberto D’Aversa’s Crociati. Parma only managed to scare Wojciech Szczesny in one occasion.
Giovanni Martusciello, Maurizio Sarri’s second-in-command, didn’t feature any surprise in his lineup. Returning forward Gonzalo Higuain was placed in the middle of the attacking line, flanked by Douglas Costa and Cristiano Ronaldo, but proved once again that he is but the shadow of the once-terrible striker capable of scoring 36 goals in 35 Serie A games.
Cristiano Ronaldo, on the other hand, snorted and battled as usual, trying to score with the hunger of a kid in a playground. He did actually manage to put the ball in the net, finalizing for the best a suggestion by Douglas Costa, but the VAR caught him in a millimetric offside. It could have been the goal that sealed the game for Juventus in the first half already.
Martusciello didn’t concede any minute of play to Paulo Dybala, rather preferring to deploy platinum-haired Federico Bernardeschi when he decided that Higuain’s indolence was too much to bear. Frenchman Adrien Rabiot also made his debut in the second half, the only new face seen among the Old Lady’s lines.
On the Parma side, veteran Roberto Inglese was the most dangerous, but was not adequately supported by both a confused Gervinho and a 19-year-old Dejan Kulusevski who still appeared immature for the Serie A stage. Inglese’s venomous shot in the 12th minute called Wojcech Szczesny to his only real save in the game.
Juventus’ lone goal came in the 21st minute, at the end of a clear predominance, when Chiellini put his foot on the trajectory of a shot by Douglas Costa from a corner kick. For the Bianconeri’s captain, this was the second goal scored in a campionato first round, and the first since December 2018.
Juve capitalized on their lead in the second half, when the hot temperature expectedly slowed down the match pace, and resisted to Parma’s final assault in stoppage time, when a free-kick by the Crociati’s new midfielder Hernani swirled not far from Szczesny’s right post.
It is too early to see Maurizio Sarri’s hand on this new version of the eight-time Italian champions, but the Zebras’ well-known formation showed another sample of what their former coach Massimiliano Allegri had made them best at: Obtaining the maximum result with the minimum effort. And this is already a clear warning sign to any potential contender.
August 24, 2019 – Serie A 2019-2020 Round 1
SCORER: 21′ Chiellini
|PARMA (4-3-3): Sepe; Laurini, Iacoponi, Bruno Alves, Gagliolo; Hernani, Brugman (77’ Grassi), Barillà (85’ Karamoh), Kulusevski (57’ Siligardi), Inglese, Gervinho (Colombi, Dermaku, Machin, Cornelius, Ceravolo, Kucka, Ricci, Sprocati) Coach: D’Aversa|
|JUVENTUS (4-3-3): Szczesny; De Sciglio, Bonucci, Chiellini, Alex Sandro; Khedira (63’ Rabiot), Pjanic, Matuidi; Douglas Costa (70’ Cuadrado), Higuain (82’ Bernardeschi), Cristiano Ronaldo (Buffon, Pinsoglio, De Ligt, Demiral, Danilo, Emre Can, Bentancur, Dybala) Coach: Martusciello|
REFEREE: Mr. Maresca from Napoli
NOTES: Attendance: 20073; Yellow Cards: Kulusevski, Hernani (P), Khedira, Bernardeschi, Pjanic (J); Extra Time: 1st Half 3′, 2nd Half 6′