Chiellini gets Juve off the mark as CR7 frustrated in Parma - GulfToday

Chiellini gets Juve off the mark as CR7 frustrated in Parma


Juventus’ Giorgio Chiellini in action with Parma’s Roberto Inglese during their Italian League match on Saturday. Reuters

Juventus captain Giorgio Chiellini scored the first goal of the Serie A season on Saturday as the champions kicked off their bid for a ninth consecutive title with a 1-0 win at Parma.

New Juventus coach Maurizio Sarri was missing from the sidelines as he recovers from pneumonia which will also see him miss next weekend’s game against Napoli in Turin.

But Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo drew a blank as he begins his second season in Italy with a goal ruled offside and several missed efforts.

Juventus’s new-look side resembled last season’s apart from returning Argentine forward Gonzalo Higuain, back from Chelsea, preferred up front alongside Ronaldo in place of Paulo Dybala.

Juventus’s new Dutch defender Matthijs De Ligt remained on the bench with Welsh international Aaron Ramsey not in the group, while French midfielder Adrien Rabiot came on late in place of Sami Khedira. Defender Chiellini made the difference early, connecting with an Alex Sandro cross off a corner to fire in after 21 minutes at the Ennio Tardini stadium in Emilia Romagna. It was just the 27th goal in Chiellini’s 14-year Juventus career. Parma finished 14th on their return to Serie A last season having been demoted following bankruptcy.

But they pushed the champions hard with Robert Inglese denied twice in the first half by Juventus goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny. Ronaldo squandered a golden chance after half an hour controlling a Higuain cross with his chest but sending wide across the face of goal. The Portuguese looked to have made up for his earlier error on 34 minutes, finishing off a Douglas Costa effort into the back of goal.

The goal was ruled offside after consultation with VAR with Ronaldo deemed to be marginally offside.

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner again proved wasteful after an hour latching on to a Costa cross but sending the ball over the top of goal. His frustration continued five minutes later with Parma goalkeeper Luigi Sepe denying the Portuguese at full stretch.

Brazilian Hernani missed a chance to snatch a point for Parma rifling a freekick just wide allowing the champions off the hook to finish with all three points. Carlo Ancelotti’s Serie A runners-up Napoli are in action later on Saturday in Fiorentina.

The southerners have not won the title since 1990 and open in Tuscany with new French signing Franck Ribery set to make his debut.

In the last two years, Juventus have introduced a new badge and ditched their distinctive black-and-white striped shirts but, in hiring Maurizio Sarri as coach, they now made possibly the most drastic change of all.

Juventus have habitually been a team who want to win without worrying about how they do it.

Massimiliano Allegri, the incumbent for the previous five seasons, fitted the bill perfectly. His teams were pragmatic, versatile and intent on getting the job done as quickly and efficiently as possible.

However, Juventus have now ditched Allegri, a man who won five Serie A titles in as many years in charge and took them to two Champions League finals, in favour of Sarri, who is only happy when his team is playing a high-tempo, passing game.

Agence France-Presse

Italian League results:

On Saturday: Parma 0 Juventus 1 (Chiellini 21)

Related articles