Juventus kicked off its bid for a third consecutive title with Carlos Tevez scoring in the 58th minute of a 1-0 win at Sampdoria, which beat the Bianconeri in both league meetings last season.
The former Manchester City striker, a marquee signing for Antonio Conte’s team this summer, has scored fancier goals than the close-range finish that earned all three points in Genoa.
He has scored many more important in his time with Boca Juniors, Corinthians, West Ham, Manchester United and City, and the Argentina national team. But there was no faulting Tevez’s timing, or his form, as he made the difference in Serie A’s big opening Saturday night game.
Sampdoria completed an unlikely double over Juventus last season, spoiling their title celebrations with a 3-2 win at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris on the final day. Their coach, Delio Rossi, was wary of the vengeance arriving from Turin and Juventus were good value for their win, even if the home side held out for nearly an hour.
Andrea Pirlo had an early long-range attempt saved by Angelo Da Costa, who turned the ball over the bar, and further attempts from Kwadwo Asamoah and Mirko Vucinic peppered the Sampdoria goal.
Tevez went as close as anyone with a powerful left-footed strike that almost crept inside the left post. He made the breakthrough after 58 minutes with a poacher’s goal. The craft came from Arturo Vidal, with a cute pass to Paul Pogba, who showed great awareness to flick a pass to his right for Tevez, who could hardly fail to beat Da Costa from close quarters.
Sampdoria briefly thought they had levelled when Andrea Costa slid home a free-kick, however he was offside and a flag from the assistant referee rightly went up. Gianluigi Buffon saved from Eder and Gaetano Berardi in quick succession but Sampdoria’s hopes began to look forlorn.
A red card in the dying stages for Paolo Castellini was a sorry way to finish for the home side, when a mistimed tackle was punished, arguably a little harshly, by referee Luca Banti.