An easy choice for club of the week in the last Serie A round, as Juventus smoked Sampdoria and got closer to Scudetto, widening their lead over Napoli. The game, however, was tighter than what the commanding final score indicates, especially in the first half.
Massimiliano Allegri rotated the squad a lot as usual, giving the nod from the jump to Benedikt Howedes, Daniele Rugani, Kwadwo Asamoah and Juan Cuadrado from the start and keeping Gonzalo Higuain and Douglas Costa on the bench. The Bianconeri did not do whole lot in the first half, with the Blucerchiati fighting very valiantly. The guests had the best chance on a corner kick with Fabio Quagliarella.
Douglas Costa single-handedly took the game by the scruff of its neck when he was put in in the final minutes of the first half, replacing Miralem Pjanic who got hurt. On his first touch, he delivered a great cross that Mario Mandzukic bagged with a sliding volley from close range.
Sampdoria did not manage to get off the mat after the break and the show of the Brazilian continued as he wreaked havoc all over the pitch. He solved the game with two more assists in the spare of 15 minutes: a soft cross from the left side of the box to a wide open Benedikt Howedes, who easily tucked it in, and then a feed to the trailing Sami Khedira from the base line.
Obviously, an ideal result for the Bianconeri, who have built a six-point cushion over the second-placed Napoli and are certain to arrive to Sunday’s showdown with a comfortable lead, no matter what will happen in the midweek round.
Howedes was the top player of the game with eight points, thanks to the goal and the header, while Gianluigi Buffon, who got loud cheers from the crowd for the epic rant after the Real Madrid game and also preserved the clean sheet with a nice intervention on Fabio Quagliarella late in the game, followed with seven. The MVP Douglas Costa got six for the three dimes, same as Sami Khedira. Rugani and Giorgio Chiellini amassed five, Mandzukic four and all midfielders two. Kwadwo Asamoah got one because he was booked.
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