Pirlo off to dream start as Juve open bid for 10th straight title
September 22 2020 01:33 AM
Juventus’ Cristiano Ronaldo and coach Andrea Pirlo celebrate their win over Sampdoria in Turin. (Reu
Juventus’ Cristiano Ronaldo and coach Andrea Pirlo celebrate their win over Sampdoria in Turin. (Reuters)

AFP/ Milan

Andrea Pirlo got his coaching career off to a winning start as Juventus launched their bid for a 10th consecutive league title with a 3-0 win over Sampdoria on Sunday.
Swedish debutant Dejan Kulusevski opened the scoring after 13 minutes in Turin with Leonardo Bonucci adding a second on 78 minutes and Cristiano Ronaldo a late third.
The match was played in front of 1,000 spectators as Serie A stadiums reopened on Sunday to a limited number of fans after a seven-month coronavirus lockdown.
Pirlo could not have hoped for a better start to his coaching career having taken over from Maurizio Sarri this summer.
The win against Sampdoria, coached by veteran Claudio Ranieri, came just days after the former Italy and Juventus star received his coaching diploma.
“It will take time to put together the mode of play, but I will not copy and paste,” warned the 41-year-old. 
“I will take inspiration from teams that have impressed - there was little time, the lads returned from the national teams, we only worked together for a week. 
“Today and already with (the friendly against) Novara we have seen something, it will take time. We lack players but we’re trying to do the best with what we have.”
Juventus handed debuts to new signing Weston McKennie and Kulusevski, who joined from Atalanta in January before immediately returning to Parma on loan.
Kulusevski curled in the first goal in a move started by Ronaldo, who hit the bar minutes later.
But it was not until the last quarter of an hour that the champions finally killed off the game they dominated, with Aaron Ramsey missing a chance for a fourth late.
“I am very disappointed, I didn’t expect such an opaque performance from my side,” said Ranieri. “We were timid, fearful. Juventus were hungry, we were not.” 
Juventus next head to Roma next week after the side from the capital were held to a goalless draw in their opener on Saturday, before hosting Napoli, 2-0 winners this weekend against Parma.

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