Juventus maintain unbeaten start with comfortable win at struggling Empoli

By Sports Desk September 03, 2023

Juventus maintained their unbeaten start to the Serie A season with a 2-0 win at bottom side Empoli.

Danilo fired the visitors in front in the 24th minute and Federico Chiesa made sure of the points late in the second period after Dusan Vlahovic had seen a poor first-half penalty saved by debutant Etrit Berisha.

The win lifts Juve to third in the table, two points behind Inter and AC Milan, while Empoli have now failed to score in any of their three league games this season after crashing out of the Coppa Italia to Serie B Cittadella.

Vlahovic had the first shot on target in the seventh minute, but his right-footed effort was gathered at his near post at the second attempt by Berisha and moments later Jacopo Fazzini fired a shot high and wide at the other end.

Danilo thought he had opened the scoring in the 10th minute when he headed home from close range, only to be penalised for blocking the goalkeeper as Empoli struggled to clear a corner.

Vlahovic then sent a glancing header wide of the post as the home side again had difficulty clearing their lines and that weakness was to prove costly in the 24th minute as Danilo edged the visitors in front.

Danilo’s initial effort following a corner from the left was inadvertently blocked by team-mate Federico Gatti, but the ball came back to the Brazilian defender and he made no mistake with a side-footed finish from eight yards.

Juventus then had numerous chances to double their lead, with a mishit shot from Vlahovic falling kindly for Chiesa to set up Weston McKennie, but his right-footed effort was deflected wide.

Vlahovic himself then fired wide before squandering a golden opportunity to make it 2-0 from the penalty spot after Youssef Maleh clipped Gatti in the box.

Vlahovic had scored a penalty in the opening-day win over Udinese but his left-footed shot lacked enough power and was saved by Berisha with his legs as he actually dived past the ball.

Juventus continued to dominate the game after the interval and Chiesa curled a shot inches wide on the hour mark after playing the ball through the legs of Sebastian Walukiewicz and bursting into the area.

Substitute Paul Pogba then looked to have doubled his side’s lead just four minutes after coming on, only to see his delightful volley ruled out due to Vlahovic being deemed offside in the build-up.

The overdue second goal finally arrived eight minutes from time as Chiesa raced on to a defence-splitting pass from Arkadiusz Milik and was clipped by Berisha as he rounded the goalkeeper, but quickly got to his feet and switched the ball on to his right foot before slotting it into the empty net.

There was still time for Milik to hit the bar with a header from Timothy Weah’s cross and for Moise Kean to clip the post from outside the area, but the two goals were more than enough for a dominant win.

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