Moise Kean marked his first Serie A start of the season with a brace as Juventus opened up a 19-point lead over Napoli on Friday.
Juventus warmed up for their crunch Champions League clash against Atletico Madrid on Tuesday with a thumping 4-1 Serie A win over Udinese.
Massimiliano Allegri could scarcely have cherry picked a more accommodating opponent as a first-half double from Moise Kean set the Bianconeri on their way to opening up a whopping 19-point lead over Napoli at the league summit.
With one eye on the visit of Diego Simeone’s side – who hold a 2-0 advantage from the first leg – Allegri opted to leave Cristiano Ronaldo on the substitutes’ bench and his replacement, Kean, marked his first league start of the campaign with a well-taken brace.
A 67th-minute Emre Can penalty and Blaise Matuidi header four minutes later added gloss to the scoreline against an insipid Udinese side.
Kevin Lasagna’s fabulous late consolation was sharply at odds with the overall display from Davide Nicola’s men, who remain seven points above the relegation zone in 15th.
— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) March 8, 2019
Alex Sandro surged down the left and picked out Kean, who applied an assured finish from six yards for his first league goal of the campaign.
Daniele Rugani flashed a header wide soon afterwards and Kean doubled his side’s advantage six minutes before the interval.
The 19-year-old powered into the penalty area and clipped into Juan Musso’s bottom-right corner via a deflection off Ben Wilmot.
Federico Bernardeschi fired wide of an open goal after a poor Musso punch shortly after the restart before Kean was tripped by Nicholas Opoku, giving Can the chance to stroke home his fourth league goal of the campaign from 12 yards.
Matuidi got in on the act soon after, meeting Rodrigo Bentancur’s precise cross with a downwards header that gave Musso no chance.
Lasagna netted in style six minutes from time, taking Rodrigo de Paul’s pass on his chest and lashing a half-volley past Wojciech Szczesny, but it did little to detract from the most routine of victories for Allegri’s side.
What does it mean? All eyes on Atleti visit
With an eighth consecutive Scudetto all but wrapped up, Juve’s attention now turns squarely to the mouth-watering clash against Atletico.
Given the LaLiga side’s two-goal lead and their formidable defence, the odds are stacked firmly against Allegri’s men. The prospect of elimination has even prompted speculation over the Juventus coach’s future this week, but you would not bet against a fresh Ronaldo writing his name all over European football’s premier competition once again.
Kean takes his chance
He has barely tasted first-team action this season, but Kean showed exactly why he is one of Italy’s most exciting prospects with an impressive double. Allegri might even consider resting Ronaldo more frequently if Kean continues to prove this able a deputy.
An introduction to forget for Opoku
The Ghanian replaced the injured Bram Nuytinck midway through the first half and endured a miserable game against the effervescent Kean, which reached its nadir with a clumsy challenge for the penalty.
After Tuesday’s tie against Atlei, Juve return to domestic action with a visit to Genoa. Udinese have little let-up in their schedule as they travel to second-place Napoli.