STADIO TARDINI (Parma) – Parma had only lost one of their 11 Serie A openers at the Stadio Ennio Tardini – which came as far back as the 1990/92 season – against, you guessed it, Juventus, and the Italian champions inflicted further opening day pain on the Parmigiani on Saturday evening by claiming a 1-0 win.
Maurizio Sarri couldn’t fulfil his sideline duties for the Bianconeri as he continues to battle against pneumonia, but La Vecchia Signora showed some signs of having taken on his principles already, despite surprisingly featuring Sami Khedira, Blaise Matuidi and Gonzalo Higuain in their starting XI.
Serie A has returned and it's just like we were never away!
— ForzaItalianFootball (@SerieAFFC) August 24, 2019
Juventus expectedly started on the front foot and it didn’t take long for Cristiano Ronaldo to have his first sight at goal. Just seven minutes in he tried his luck from range but his strike was rather wild and flew wayward.
Five minutes later it was the No.7 again who passed up a chance to trouble Luigi Sepe. This time he found himself on the end of a cross from deep but he couldn’t direct his header properly and, much like the effort that preceded it, it went over the crossbar.
Juve then had a scare themselves immediately. Gervinho – whose three goals against Juve make them his favourite opponent for the Gialloblu – broke on the left and the ball made its way to Roberto Inglese but his prodded effort was saved by Wojciech Szczesny.
The first goal of Maurizio Sarri’s tenure – and indeed this Serie A season – couldn’t have been any further from Sarrismo. A corner half-cleared by a flapping Sepe was volleyed back towards goal by Alex Sandro. Leonardo Bonucci attempted to turn it in with a flick, but he helped it on its way and his defensive partner Giorgio Chiellini swept it home from close range.
Something more in Sarri’s mould followed though as some excellently quick football allowed Cristiano Ronaldo to double Juvetus’ lead, seemingly. After getting in down the right, firing into the far corner and prompting and eruption of ‘siuuuuu‘ from the away end, his goal was ruled out with the assistance of VAR for the narrowest of offsides.
Juventus remained in relative control once they had the lead, though the hosts did look to threaten on the counterattack through Gervinho and Inglese, who never really looked to have the same synchronisation they had shown on occasion last season.
Yann Karamoh was used as a late throw of the dice by Roberto D’Aversa, but his five minutes weren’t enough for him to find his feet or make a real impact on proceedings. His arrival did generate some sort of belief though, which prompted a bit of a surge in the dying moments, but Juventus managed to resist and cling on for maximum points.