Juventus flex muscle, crush Lazio

Published Aug. 31, 2013 1:00 a.m. EDT

Juventus cruised to a 4-1 victory over 10-man Lazio in Serie A on Saturday as the capital club fell to another hefty defeat at the hands of the defending champion.

Lazio was looking to avenge its 4-0 Super Cup loss to Juventus two weeks ago, but two world-class finishes from Arturo Vidal sent Juventus on its way to another victory.

Miroslav Klose reduced the deficit with his first goal against Juventus but Mirko Vucinic restored the home side's two-goal advantage shortly after halftime.

Lazio was forced to play nearly half an hour with 10 men after Hernanes was sent off for a second yellow card. And Carlos Tevez - who had earlier hit the crossbar - scored his third goal in as many games.


Earlier, last year's runner-up Napoli beat Chievo Verona 4-2 in another entertaining game.

Both Napoli and Juventus have won their opening two matches but this was a lot more convincing a result from Antonio Conte's team than last week's narrow 1-0 win over Sampdoria and will serve as a warning sign of just how difficult it will be to prevent Juve from claiming a third successive league title.

''Winning again and putting another four goals past Lazio is a sign of our growing form, both as a collective and as individuals,'' Conte said. ''We have won all three of our official matches. Today we were facing a tough opponent who always made us suffer. It's a victory that gives us confidence, but we must never let our concentration slip.

''We started very strong, particularly the spectacular opening 25 minutes in terms of intensity and organization. We still need to improve, as in some stages there wasn't enough pressure from the midfielders and we went too deep.''

Juventus took the lead in the 14th minute, with Vidal controlling a lovely chipped pass from Paul Pogba and slotting the ball home.

The Chilean doubled his tally in the 26th, beating the offside trap again to latch on to Leonardo Bonucci's delightful ball over the defense and fire into the bottom left corner.

Klose immediatly got Lazio back into the game. Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon failed to hold on to Hernanes' powerful 30-meter effort and the Germany striker was on hand to follow up.

Juventus extended its lead after the break thanks to another wonderful Bonucci assist. The Italy defender lifted the ball from his own half into the area for Vucinic to finish past Federico Marchetti.

Hernanes was needlessly sent off in the 63rd minute after he was shown a second yellow card for batting the ball down with his hand in the penalty area.

Tevez curled a 20-meter effort off the bar in the 72nd minute before scoring a first home goal. The Argentine feinted round his marker before driving into the bottom left corner from just outside the penalty area.

The early match in Serie A was just as eventful as Gonzalo Higuain scored his first Serie A goal to help Napoli maintain its perfect start under Rafa Benitez.

Higuain started despite having had eight stitches in his face after injuring himself by diving off a boat onto a rock on Monday.

Napoli had lost its past three matches at the Staido Bentegodi without scoring a goal but took the lead in the 13th minute with Marek Hamsik firing Lorenzo Insigne's pass in off the right post from 20 meters.

Chievo drew level in the 25th following a good cross from Perparim Hetemaj to find Alberto Paloschi, who - alone in front of goal - drove the ball under Napoli goalkeeper Pepe Reina.

However, Jose Callejon restored Napoli's advantage almost immediately, firing Higuain's low pass in at the back post for his second goal in as many games since signing from Real Madrid.

It was end-to-end football, and Chievo nearly equalized moments later when Paloschi pounced on a woeful Christian Maggio backpass and chipped Reina, but the ball rebounded off the post.

Chievo was back on level terms five minutes from halftime as Paloschi scored his second of the game in a goalmouth scramble following a corner.

Hamsik scored his fourth goal in two matches in the 64th minute, firing home a loose ball after Chievo goalkeeper Christian Puggioni stuck out a foot to prevent an own goal.

Higuain - who joined from Real Madrid in a deal worth an estimated 40 million euros ($53 million) - sealed the result 20 minutes from time following some great work from Insigne. Higuain burst into the area and saw his initial effort saved by Puggioni but the Argentina striker fired in the rebound.

''It was important to win here, where we have often suffered,'' Hamsik said. ''Today wasn't easy either, Chievo came back twice and we even risked going behind. But continuing to play well, we managed to win.

''I'm really happy with my goals, especially because I helped the team. It was important for Higuain to score because he is a new player, there is so much expected of him and he opened his account. It's good for him.''