Di Maria shines as Juventus top Sassuolo
In the absence of the injured Paul Pogba, it was another new signing who starred for Juventus as they kicked off their season with a 3-0 win over Sassuolo yesterday.
Angel Di Maria scored the opener and set up the team's third for Dusan Vlahovic, who also won and converted a penalty.
The 34-year-old Di Maria's impressive performance will only heighten the concern after he walked off in the 66th minute with an apparent injury to his left adductor muscle and a pained expression.
There was less fanfare for the arrival of Di Maria than Pogba last month. Di Maria joined on a free transfer from Paris Saint-Germain just days before Pogba completed his return to Juventus.
But Pogba was one of a number of players absent for the opener. Goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, Federico Chiesa and Kaio Jorge were injured as well, while Moise Kean and Adrien Rabiot were suspended.
Weston McKennie had recovered from injury and started, however.
It was a slow start from Juventus, with little sign of what was to come as Sassuolo had several chances to take the lead.
But it was the Biaonceri who broke the deadlock in the 26th minute when Alex Sandro floated in a cross and Di Maria's scuffed volley went into the ground and looped into the top left corner.
Juventus doubled their lead three minutes before halftime as Vlahovic powered a penalty straight down the middle after being brought down by Sassuolo defender Gian Marco Ferrari.
Di Maria almost doubled his tally in stunning fashion shortly after the break when he raced from inside his own half and into the penalty area before curling an effort that went just wide of the left post.
Instead, he set up the third moments later after some poor defending from Sassuolo that saw defender Kaan Ayhan play the ball straight to Di Maria and the Argentina international picked out Vlahovic, who turned it in from close range.
ANOTHER GREAT DEBUT
New signing Khvicha Kvaratskhelia could help Napoli forget about all the players that left in the offseason.
The 21-year-old Kvaratskhelia, who was signed from Georgian club Dinamo Batumi last month, provided a goal and an assist to help Napoli win 5-2 at Hellas Verona in their opening match of the new Serie A season.
Napoli finished third last season but there were question marks over how they would perform following the departure of several key players such as captain Lorenzo Insigne, all-time leading scorer Dries Mertens and defender Kalidou Koulibaly.