Juventus snags big win vs. Genoa
It was a return to form for Juve, who lost at Fiorentina before suffering a Champions League defeat at Real Madrid in midweek, and the swashbuckling football on display on Sunday afternoon will go some way to reassuring coach Antonio Conte that his club can still achieve their aim of winning a third straight Scudetto.
Summer signings Fernando Llorente and Tevez were particularly impressive around the visiting goal, which was admirably protected by rookie goalkeeper Mattia Perin, but it was Vidal who opened the scoring with a penalty.
A superb solo effort from Tevez then made the points safe before half-time to keep the Bianconeri four points clear of resurgent Inter Milan and tied with Napoli for second place.
Juve began the season determined to prosper on multiple fronts but sub-par performances have seen the Turin club struggle both at home and in Europe.
The first half only yielded two goals when perhaps five or six were possible, but Conte’s men produced a formidable display to remind their rivals just what they are capable of.
Llorente dazzled in the opening minutes, Paul Pogba arriving just too late to tuck the Spaniard’s pass away.
The former Athletic Bilbao striker excelled himself with a perfect assist to Pogba and this time Perin was lucky to win a duel with the powerful Frenchman.
Genoa’s goalkeeper held the Juve machine back a little longer with a superb save on Llorente from two yards and Vidal only had himself to blame when slamming the ball against the bar in the 19th minute.
Another chance went begging for the Italian champions when Giorgio Chiellini headed inches wide of the mark.
Perin would pull off another miracle save, this time on the onrushing Andrea Pirlo, but in the 23nd minute he was picking the ball out of his net.
It had been a marginal call when Davide Biondini felled Kwadwo Asamoah just inside the Genoa box.
That was irrelevant to Vidal, though, and he converted the penalty with a minimum of fuss.
Juve pushed for their second goal and Pogba nearly found it after robbing Biondini on the edge of the area, but his shot was wayward.
Tevez made amends in the 36th minute.
A magnificent dribbling run left Genoa’s defence standing still before an unstoppable strike evaded Perin to cap a remarkable first-half display from Juve.
The interval was a welcome break for Perin who soon found himself making a double save on deadly duo Llorente and Tevez when play resumed.
Vidal and Tevez teamed up with a view to extending their team’s lead and adding to their own personal tallies but it was Llorente who deserved to score the third goal, his left-footed effort screeching wide with Perin left stranded.
Juve had already done enough to win, but goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon was relieved keep a clean sheet after watching Ioannis Fetfatzidis head over his bar from a sumptuous cross from Sime Vrsaljko in stoppage time.