Empoli vs Juventus 0-2: Relentless Bianconeri Add to Azzurri’s Misery

High-flying Juventus put a lowly Empoli side to the sword at the Stadio Carlo Castellani on Sunday evening, sailing to a 2-0 win to sign off before the international break in style. There was never a shred of doubt about who would win this contest.

Juventus came into this fixture seeking revenge for last season’s 4-1 demolition at Carlo Castellani. Keen to atone for an underwhelming 1-1 home draw against Bologna a week ago and get their vengeance in the process, Massimiliano Allegri had nothing but a win in mind. 

However, Juventus deployed a conservative approach from the onset. Letting Empoli feel comfortable was always a double-edged sword, as they learned the hard way on their most recent visit to Tuscany last April. With Paul Pogba on the bench again, Bianconeri struggled with a lack of creativity in the opening stages.  

One of the brightest aspects of Allegri’s tenure is Juve’s ability to score from set-pieces. With that in mind, it comes as no surprise the visitors found a breakthrough after Filip Kostic’s corner-kick delivery. Captain Danilo showed the awareness and poacher’s skills to benefit from a scramble inside Empoli’s six-yard box and put Juventus ahead in the 24th minute.

Dusan Vlahovic has been on fire at the start of the season. The Serbian striker had a glorious opportunity to double his side’s lead in the 39th minute. Youssef Maleh tackles Federico Gatti to the ground inside the box, with referee Giovanni Ayroldi immediately pointing to the spot. But Empoli goalkeeper Etrit Berisha thwarted Vlahovic’s attempt.

Based on everything that happened in the first half, Juventus were unlucky to enter the break only 1-0 up. Bianconeri’s profligacy never came back to haunt them as Empoli looked up the creek without a paddle, as they did in the first two matches. Paolo Zanetti’s lads headed into the game as the only Serie A team yet to score this season. Looking at tonight’s performance, it’s easy to understand why.

Juventus came close to doubling their lead early in the second half through red-hot Federico Chiesa. The Italian winger stormed past his markers and broke one-on-one with Berisha but failed to hit the target. His attacking companion, Vlahovic, couldn’t catch a break tonight. After wasting a first-half penalty, he was denied an assist by VAR.

Vlahovic chested down Chiesa’s lofted ball inside the box and expertly laid it off to Paul Pogba, whose thundering half-volley rippled the net. But VAR found the Serbian star a whisker offside. It was only a matter of time before Juventus would add to their tally. There was no salvation for Empoli in the 82nd minute as Chiesa scored a well-deserved goal to put the game to bed.

Despite making all five changes in the second half, Zanetti failed to galvanize his downtrodden side. Empoli seemed clueless in the front third and will spend the international break as the only scoreless club in Serie A. As for Juventus, they responded well to last week’s disappointment against Bologna, staying within touching distance of the leading duo, Milan and Inter.

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