Palermo 0-3 Juventus: Old Lady make a statement in Sicily
Image source: La Stampa

It's pantomime season, alright. Juventus, after making their worst start to a Serie A campaign since 1912, added yet more credence to the suggestion that they truly are "behind you".

Achieved in emphatic circumstances, second half goals from Mario Mandzukic, Stefano Sturaro and Simone Zaza helped see off Palermo and propel the Old Lady to within three points of Roma.

Ebb and flow

Rarely does the atmosphere disappoint inside the Renzo Barbera when Juventus make the trip and, with the added element of Paulo Dybala, once of Palermo, donning the colours of the away side, it would make for a frenetic encounter.

Chances, though, were at a premium during the opening exchanges, with Oscar Hiljemark’s ninth minute strike, after tremendous work from Franco Vazquez, the closest either side came to breaking the deadlock. 

Dybala was foraging and the Argentine was at the centre of a threatening opportunity for the visitors. Feeding Juan Cuadrado, the Colombian teed up the overlapping Sturaro whose delivery was inches away from meeting Mandzukic’s outstretched leg.

Juve were, by and large, the superior side as the game elapsed the 25th minute mark. Sturaro was making frequent inroads down the right while Giorgio Chiellini went close via a corner.

Patrice Evra too was threatening on the opposite flank. Twice the Frenchman was liberated down the left but, on one occasion, the linesman was quick to raise his flag.

Yet, it was Palermo who fashioned the best chance of the opening half hour. After Vazquez’s volley from close-range was foiled, the ball fell invitingly to Alberto Gilardino but the veteran flashed his effort across goal. 

It was an emphatic win in the end for Juventus. (Photo: Fox Sports)
It was an emphatic win in the end for Juventus. (Photo: Fox Sports)

Leonardo Bonucci should have opened the scoring on 33 minutes when he peeled off Mato Jajolo inside the penalty area and headed agonisingly wide of the mark.

Dybala, as well, was guilty of miscuing a header when Sturaro delivered an unerring centre into the penalty box.

Palermo began the second-half with intent but their early efforts were in vain when Mandzukic notched his second goal in four days. Towering above a hapless Aljaz Struna at the far stick, Dybala, fittingly, whipped a tantalising cross into the Croatian and he powered his header past Stefano Sorrentino

Juve see it out

The contest could have been out of reach for the hosts when Cuadrado shimmed past Achraf Lazaar and fired towards goal. Sorrentino, though, was quick to foil his near post effort.

Aleksandr Trajkovski, who replaced Gilardino on 66 minutes, went airborne to meet Struna’s dink into the area, but his acrobatic effort lacked sufficient power.

Juve continued to hoard possession even as the hosts began to commit more bodies forward.

Mandzukic’s replacement, Alvaro Morata, was proving a useful outlet for the Old Lady even if, on a frustrating number of occasions, he was the subject of the linesman's flag.

The hosts' chances of mounting an improbable comeback were consigned to the shredder when Sturaro added a second with three minutes remaining. Darting through the heart of the Palermo midfield, he latched onto a deft threaded pass from Paul Pogba and slotted the ball past Sorrentino.

Zaza, who replaced the man of the moment Dybala, added a third deep into stoppage time when he received a pass from Morata and, after shifting it onto his preferred foot, drove an unerring effort beyond Sorrentino at his front post, sealing the win for the visitors.

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