After the January transfer activity, there was an obvious and understandable curiosity to see how the new signings Dusan Vlahovic and Denis Zakaria would perform on their Juventus debut. Well, the two showed up with a goal each, one in each half, as Juventus collected a 2-0 win over a Verona side that was always held at a safe distance. It was the 4-1 defeat of Parma 4-1 in September 2011 that two Juventus players last found the net on their bows.
THE DV7 ERA BEGINS
All eyes were on Vlahovic, who took little time to endear himself to his new fans. With his first touch, he unleashed a powerful shot that Lorenzo Montipò parried at full stretch. With his second opportunity he gave the Verona goalkeeper no chance. Paulo Dybala played the ball into space, and using his pace and strength to hold off his marker, Vlahovic lobbed the on-rushing goalkeeper for his debut goal. 13 minutes on the clock and DV7 had already brought the house down.
FRONT THREE ON THE FRONT FOOT
One of the most interesting aspects of the opening half was the link-up play of the Juventus front three. Dybala and Alvaro Morata looked to link up with their co-striker at every given opportunity. With the Argentine dropping deep, his first thought was to play through Vlahovic. Morata was also eager to play off the physical presence of the new Juventus centre forward. On 37 minutes, the combination between the two almost led to Juventus doubling their lead, but Vlahovic’s touch ended just wide. Another positive note was the personality of Zakaria, covering plenty of ground in the centre of the park and keen to push forward, as was proved in the second half.
ZAK TO THE DOUBLE
Verona started the second half with greater conviction and kept the Bianconeri penned in their own field for a quarter of an hour, but on 61 minutes, Zakaria, who had already shown a remarkable personality in the first half, followed Vlahovic with a debut goal. Morata broke over the half-way line and rolled the ball to Zakaria who took the ball in his stride inside the visitors’ penalty area. One touch to steady himself, the second to take aim as he drilled a low shot beyond Montipò.
Juve began to play with confidence and Dybala almost found a quick third but was denied by the Verona ‘keeper. Again Montipò showed excellent reflexes to keep out Adrien Rabiot.
In the closing 15 minutes, Allegri brought on Daniele Rugani and Juan Cuadrado for Giorgio Chiellini and Dybala, then Zakaria and Morata came off to a standing ovation, replaced by Weston McKennie and Moise Kean.
Vlahovic, McKennie and Kean all tried to add another goal to round off the result but the two goals from the January reinforcements were enough to boost confidence ahead of the busy February schedule.
JUVENTUS 2-0 HELLAS VERONA (HT: 1-0)
SCORERS: Vlahovic 13′, Zakaria 61′
Szczesny, Danilo (75′ Cuadrado), de Ligt, Chiellini (75′ Rugani), De Sciglio; Zakaria( 83′ McKennie), Arthur, Rabiot; Dybala, Vlahovic, Morata (83′ Kean)
Subs not used: Pinsoglio, Perin, Bonucci, Pellegrini, Aké, Kaio Jorge
Montipò; Casale (84′ Sutalo), Gunter, Ceccherini (62′ Retsos); Depaoli, Ilic (84′ Praszelik), Veloso (46′ Bessa), Lazovic; Tameze, Barak (62′ Kalinic); Lasagna
Subs not used: Chiesa, Berardi, Coppola, Cancellieri
ASSISTANTS: Cipressa, Fiore
BOOKINGS: Depaoli (V) 17′, Morata (J) 58′
Source juventus/Football Reporting