Sports, Football

Juventus off to winning start at Malmo

By Reuters
Published : 15 Sep 2021 09:42 PM

Forwards Paolo Dybala and Alvaro Morata scored just before halftime as Juventus made the most of Malmo’s collapse to win 3-0 in their Champions League Group H clash on Tuesday to put their rocky start to the season behind them.

Twice European champions Juventus have failed to win any of their three Serie A games so far this season, but a blistering opening 45 minutes was enough to see off the Swedish champions, who were back in the group stages for the first time since the 2015/16 season.

Malmo started brightly and had a chance to open the scoring when Soren Rieks fired just over the bar in the 17th minute but instead Juventus fullback Alex Sandro broke the deadlock five minutes later, stooping to head home from close range.

A couple of minutes of chaos just before the break cost Malmo the game as Danish defender Lasse Nielsen pulled at Morata’s arm and the Spanish striker went down in the box.

The Malmo defenders thought that Morata had been ruled offside and were incredulous when referee Artur Soares Dias pointed to the spot, but a VAR review upheld his decision and though Dybala slipped as he fired his spot kick, it still hit the back of the net.

The game was effectively over a minute later when a defensive mix-up allowed Morata to loft the ball over the on-rushing Ismael Diawara to make it 3-0.

The hosts battled bravely in the second half but it was Juventus that came closest to adding to their total as substitute Moise Kean rounded Diawara to score, only to see his effort ruled out for offside in the 70th minute.

The win for Juventus puts them top of the group ahead of holders Chelsea, who beat Zenit St Petersburg 1-0, on goal difference.

“We came here after some bad results, but we knew that this is another competition and we knew what to do. We did it, playing with serenity as a great team,” goal-scorer Dybala told broadcaster Mediaset.

Malmo captain Andreas Christiansen was disappointed his side could not get a better result.

“We should have gone into the break at 0-1, talked and made a new game-plan, but when you go in 0-3, it’s game over,” he told Swedish broadcaster CMore.

“We’ll learn from our mistakes. The mistakes for the goals were a little too easy, when we do it we’re punished directly, we saw that today the hard way.”