Serie A

Juventus 3 Bologna 0: Higuain at the double as Bianconeri set new Serie A record

Gonzalo Higuain struck twice as Juventus made a strong start to 2017, dispatching Bologna 3-0 to record their 26th home league win in succession, a new Serie A record.

The heavyweights signed off for the mid-season break with a disappointing Supercoppa Italiana loss to AC Milan on penalties following a 1-1 extra-time draw in the annual showpiece game.

But there was no sign of a resulting lack of confidence or indeed rust from spending two weeks over the festive period without a competitive fixture.

An early Higuain goal and Paulo Dybala’s penalty saw Massimiliano Allegri’s men quickly take charge of the contest in Turin, the former Napoli striker adding a second nine minutes into the second half.

The result sees the reigning champions restore their four-point advantage over second-placed Roma, ahead of a Coppa Italia last-16 tie at home to Atalanta on Wednesday.

The home team had to make do without experienced defender Patrice Evra, who was left out as he considers a January move away from Turin.

But that did not prevent the title-holders from marching into the record books, Juve having not lost in front of their own fans in Serie A since August 2015.

Higuain gave Juve an early lead with a half-volley finish on the turn from Miralem Pjanic’s assist – a delicate ball over the top of the Bologna defence – to make it 1-0 with just eight minutes gone.

Stephan Lichtsteiner nearly doubled the advantage six minutes later, sticking a foot out at a loose ball from a corner and turning it just wide of the far post.

Neto, making a rare appearance in goal in place of the ill Gianluigi Buffon, was then tested by Federico Di Francesco in an infrequent foray forward for the visitors.

Having done well to repel Juve’s advances throughout much of the first half, Bologna’s hopes of getting something out of the game suffered a fatal blow five minutes before the break, when Stefano Sturaro was brought down in the area by Marios Oikonomou.

Dybala tucked away a simple penalty to make it 2-0, sending the hosts in at the break with a commanding lead.

Juve’s comfort increased shortly after the restart, Lichtsteiner playing a tidy one-two with Sami Khedira, before swinging in a cross and finding Higuain unmarked in the centre of the area to head down and past helpless goalkeeper Antonio Mirante.

Kwadwo Asamoah impressed throughout in place of Evra at left wing-back, while Tomas Rincon, signed from Genoa on Tuesday, made his debut off the bench as Juve saw out the closing stages in complete comfort.

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