Juventus breeze past Sassuolo in Serie A opener - RTHK
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Juventus breeze past Sassuolo in Serie A opener

2022-08-16 HKT 08:11
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  • Angel Di Maria celebrates after scoring for Juventus in a 3-0 win over Sassuolo in Turin. Photo: AP
    Angel Di Maria celebrates after scoring for Juventus in a 3-0 win over Sassuolo in Turin. Photo: AP
Dusan Vlahovic fired Juventus to a comfortable 3-0 win over Sassuolo with a brace in Monday's Serie A opener while Victor Osimhen was racially abused by Verona fans in a thumping 5-2 win for Napoli.

Serbia forward Vlahovic put Juve two ahead just before the break from the penalty spot after being fouled by Gian Marco Ferrari, and ended the match as a contest following a smart Angel Di Maria pass six minutes after the restart.

Argentina winger Di Maria had set Juve on the road for a low-key win with his first Serie A goal, a miscued volley in the 26th minute of his debut after arriving as a free agent this summer.

Massimiliano Allegri's side were missing returning hero Paul Pogba, out with a knee injury until next month, and injured starting goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny.

However Allegri gave Filip Kostic his Juve debut off the bench, a new face who along with the excellent Di Maria could rejuvenate a sluggish team who came up against the weakest of resistance at the Allianz Stadium.

Sassuolo have already suffered the ignominy of being knocked out of the Italian Cup by local rivals Modena this season and they didn't perform much better in Turin.

Alessio Dionisi's side didn't wake up until they were three goals down and Juve were content to sit back and see out the result, a big enough cushion already established that the away side were never going to overturn.

Osimhen was among the scorers for Napoli who before kick-off honoured their former goalkeeper Claudio Garella, a Serie A title winner in the 1980s with both southern Italy's biggest club and Verona.

An AFP reporter at the game heard a section of the home support launch monkey chants at the Nigeria forward midway through the first half, before he stretched to jab home Giovanni Di Lorenzo's knockdown in stoppage time to put the away side 2-1 ahead at half-time.

It was the latest episode of racist chanting at Verona who have a long history of far-right sympathies among their hardcore support.

After netting his first goal of the season, Osimhen took off his protective face mask and mimicked crying into a pitch-side camera, suggesting he had heard abuse before his goal even though he did not speak about it afterwards to DAZN.

"I think it's important to start well because we lost some key players, real leaders in the team. And of course it is left to us to step up," said Osimhen.

Napoli have had a tricky summer after losing stalwarts Kalidou Koulibaly, Lorenzo Insigne and Dries Mertens and with frustrated fans demanding that film mogul owner Aurelio De Laurentiis sell the club.

However Luciano Spalletti's team were on top form at the Stadio Bentegodi, with goals from Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, Osimhen, Piotr Zielinski, Stanislav Lobotka and Matteo Politano ensuring they got off to a perfect start.

Verona battled and were level early in the second half through Kevin Lasagna and Thomas Henry, but shorn of last season's stars Giovanni Simeone -- on his way to Napoli on loan -- and Gianluca Caprari, there was little Gabriele Cioffi's side could do under a second-half onslaught.

It was another big defeat after being dumped out of the Italian Cup and humiliated by second-tier Bari, a 4-1 loss a fortnight ago suggesting that it could be a long campaign for last season's surprise package.

In Spain, Alvaro Morata struck twice to secure Atletico Madrid a 3-0 victory at Getafe in their opening game of the La Liga season.

Morata, who has returned to Atletico after two years on loan with Juventus, scored a goal in each half before Antoine Griezmann wrapped up the points.

Elsewhere, Athletic Bilbao drew 0-0 at home to Mallorca, while Real Betis defeated 10-man Elche 3-0 to complete the opening round of fixtures. (AFP)