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Juventus ease past Chievo ahead of Barcelona trip


Milan (AFP) – Juventus prepared for next week’s Champions League opener at Barcelona by easing to a 3-0 win against Chievo on Saturday to keep their unbeaten Serie A record.

Three days ahead of their trip to the Camp Nou Massimiliano Allegri tested his troops after the international break which had deprived the champions of key players.

Giorgio Chiellini and Claudio Marchisio were out injured with Andrea Barzagli and Gianluigi Buffon rested.

Allegri rotated his side giving first starts to Polish goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny and midfielders Douglas Costa and Blaise Matuidi.

But the hosts could thank Chievo for the first goal with Finnish midfielder Perparim Hetemaj accidently heading in the opener after 16 minutes in Turin.

Bosnian midfielder Miralem Pjanic whipped in the free-kick from a tight angle, and it came off the unfortunate Hetemaj’s head at the near post.

The introduction of Argentine forward Paulo Dybala as a second-half substitute transformed Juventus and he assisted Gonzalo Higuain’s second goal on 58 minutes.

The Argentine then added the third himself seven minutes from time — his fifth goal this season in Serie A.

It secured a third win in as many games for Allegri’s side and a maximum nine points in their bid for a seventh straight title.

“The team was winning, there was a space to play, and when the coach brought me on we had changed the strategy,” said Dybala, who has scored in the first three games.

“I was a bit tired from the trip (to Argentina on international duty) but I’m happy with the goal. This month is very important, we have a lot of respect for Barcelona and we will go there to perform.”

The champions could be joined on Sunday at the top of the table by AC Milan, Inter Milan and Napoli depending on weather conditions which forced the postponement of Saturday’s game between Sampdoria and Roma in Genoa.

AC Milan will play Lazio in Rome, Inter host promoted SPAL while Napoli play at Bologna.

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