The opening match in Serie A also produced the first decision from video review on Saturday. The Video Assistant Referee awarded a penalty to Cagliari but Diego Farias’ effort was saved by Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon and the Bianconeri went on to win 3-0.
“I don’t want to comment on the VAR, just as before I didn’t comment on the referees’ decisions,” Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri said. “I’ll only say that luckily we have Buffon in goal: He’s still the best.”
Juventus has had a difficult few months: Losing its second Champions League final in three years and key defender Leonardo Bonucci moving to AC Milan amid reports of infighting. It also lost the Italian Super Cup to Lazio last weekend.
“Considering that at the beginning of the season there’s a bit of sparkle lacking, we did well,” Allegri said. “When the team works together in defense it’s difficult for our opponents to shoot on goal. In preseason we always conceded, and that was a sign that something wasn’t working.”
It took the Bianconeri less than 12 minutes to open the scoring when Mario Mandzukic volleyed in Stephan Lichtsteiner’s cross. This is the first season that Serie A has introduced video technology, and it got its first use at the end of the first half.
Duje Cop went down under Alex Sandro’s challenge and, after a bit of hesitation, referee Fabio Maresca summoned video reviews. After consulting with the VAR and looking at the incident on a pitchside monitor, he gave a penalty to Cagliari.
Buffon saved Farias’ penalty and Juventus doubled its lead in first-half stoppage time when Dybala controlled Miralem Pjanic’s ball over the top and fired it home. Dybala also hit the bar two minutes into the second half.
Gonzalo Higuain extended Juve’s lead shortly after the hour with a precise strike into the bottom far corner after being set up by Alex Sandro. New Juventus signings Blaise Matuidi and Douglas Costa made their Serie A debuts after joining from Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich respectively.