Serie A – Juventus 0-1 Udinese: Thereau stuns wasteful champions

Juventus lost their season opener 1-0 at home to Udinese after a late Cyril Thereau strike in a huge shock.

 

Injuries ruled out Alvaro Morata, Sami Khedira, Claudio Marchisio and Kwadwo Asamoah, but Mario Mandzukic was fit to start despite a knock midweek with Kingsley Coman preferred to Paulo Dybala.

Simone Padoin took over the Andrea Pirlo role in front of defence. The Friulani missed Guilherme and suspended Molla Wague, but Ali Adnan became the first Iraqi player in Serie A.

Coman aimed a weak finish straight at Orestis Karnezis and Stephan Lichtsteiner’s strike was deflected just past the far post after a wonderful Mandzukic knock-down.

Karnezis also smothered from Roberto Pereyra after more good work from Coman, but it was one-way traffic with Udinese barely emerging from their own half. Ali Adnan did venture over at the 27th minute, hitting the side-netting after a splendid run down the left.

Lichtsteiner’s powerful shot was beaten away at the near post and Mandzukic nodded the Swiss wing-back’s cross over from an excellent scoring position.

Pogba swung a volley off target and Padoin’s cross-shot was fingertipped out from under the bar, but Udinese lost Emmanuel Agyeman Badu to a sprained ankle.

Mandzukic again knocked down a fine Coman chipped pass, but Bruno Fernandes got back brilliantly to stop Pereyra turning in from seven yards.

Coman again did very well to pull back from the by-line, but Padoin couldn’t get power to the finish straight at Karnezis. Mandzukic had another great opportunity set up for him by Coman, but Udinese flung bodies in front to block in the six-yard box and he scuffed it.

Pogba also tried to do one too many twists and turns in the penalty area, allowingThomas Heurtaux to tackle him.

Just as Udinese seemed ready to capitulate after so many chances, they incredibly took the lead with their first shot on target. Panagiotis Kone swept a wonderful cross from the right and Thereau was left unmarked to volley in low at the back post.

It was almost 2-0 moments later, but Kone blasted over the bar after more disastrous defending. Juve were frazzled and hasty when trying to equalise, creating few genuine chances.

In fact, Gigi Buffon had to beat away a Silvan Widmer effort at the near post.