Juventus’ goal inside the first minute was the only one of the game as they struggled to overcome a dogged Empoli side 1-0 in Serie A on Saturday.
- Juventus 1 Empoli 0
- Mandzukic scores early opener
- Visitors more than a match for Juve
- Hosts struggle to break Empoli down
- Juve extend lead atop Serie A table
Juventus opened the scoring virtually straight from the kickoff, within the first minute of the match, as Mario Mandzukic rose above the defence to head the hosts into an early lead.
Despite the promise of a lively game that comes with such an early goal, Juve struggled to break Empoli down and the visitors did well to frustrate their hosts and severely limit their goal chances as they match fizzled out to a 1-0 win for Juventus.
The Old Lady could not have asked for a better start as, straight from the kickoff, Paul Pogba broke down the wing before delivering a cross in for Mandzukic, who jumped highest to sink the close-range header and give the home side a 1-0 lead.
Alvaro Morata created Juventus’ next chance with a lovely touch in the 23rd minute to put him past his defender and into the box in space, but his powerful shot disappointingly smashed into the crossbar.
Empoli’s best chance of the half came a minute later when Manuel Pucciarelli’s long-range attempt was denied by a good save from Gianluigi Buffon. Unfortunately that was it for the excitement in the first half that was dominated by solid defensive organisation.
Juventus continued to struggle to break Empoli down after the break, but Morata did have a chance to double the hosts’ lead in the 51st minute, but Lukasz Skorupski got down well to save his powerful low drive.
Kwadwo Asamoah sent a speculative long range attempt high and wide, while Morata continued to look threatening and was waiting for the visitors’ defence to make a mistake, which never came.
There was a big chance for Juve to secure the win two minutes into stoppage time at the end of the match as Skorupski once again denied Morata with a fantastic save and recovered impossibly quickly to also deny Asamoah who was the first to get to the rebound.
In the end, it made no difference to the result as Juventus ran out 1-0 winners over a frustratingly impressive Empoli outfit.
In the early match in Serie A on Saturday, goals from Nicola Sansone (4′), Gregoire Defrel (35′) and Francesco Acerbi (73′) helped Sassuolo to a 3-1 win over Carpi at Stadio Alberto Braglia, whose lone strike came from Riccardo Gagliolo in the 25th minute.