TURIN, Italy (Reuters) – Lacklustre Juventus began life without Cristiano Ronaldo by suffering a shock 1-0 defeat at home to promoted Empoli in Serie A on Saturday.
Juve, who this week agreed a deal with Manchester United to sell Ronaldo to the Premier League club, looked shorn of ideas up front in the Portuguese forward’s absence.
Other than some fierce Federico Chiesa strikes from range, the hosts did not threaten to score in the first half as Empoli edged into a surprise lead when captain Leonardo Mancuso swept the ball home at the far post in the 21st minute.
After the break, Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri introduced Alvaro Morata, Dejan Kulusevski and new signing Manuel Locatelli from the bench but, even with all that firepower on the pitch, they created few openings of note.
Empoli saw out their first win back in the Italian top flight in relative comfort, leaving Juve on one point from their opening two matches of the season.
Immobile fires treble as Lazio hit Spezia for six
Ciro Immobile’s hat-trick inspired Lazio to a 6-1 thrashing of Spezia as the Rome club made it two wins from two at the start of the new Serie A season in style on Saturday.
The visitors did take the lead in the fourth minute, with Daniele Verde on hand at the back post to tap home, but that lasted less than one minute as Immobile pounced to level.
The Italy striker then arrowed a brilliant strike into the net to give his side the advantage inside 15 minutes, before missing a penalty just before the break.
Immobile almost immediately completed a hat-trick though as he made it 3-1 in first-half stoppage time.
Lazio’s close-season signing Felipe Anderson raced clear to add a fourth two minutes into the second period, before Spezia’s task was made all the more difficult after Kelvin Amian was sent off in the 54th minute.
Elseid Hysaj and Luis Alberto completed the rout as Maurizio Sarri’s men climbed to the top of the standings, above Inter Milan on goal difference.
In Saturday’s other early kickoff, last season’s top Serie A scorers Atalanta were held to a disappointing 0-0 stalemate by Bologna in Bergamo.
Photo uventus’ Leonardo Bonucci (R) and Empoli’s Patrik Cutrone in action during the Italian Serie A soccer match Juventus FC vs Empoli FC at Allianz Stadium in Turin, Italy, 28 August 2021. EPA-EFE/ALESSANDRO DI MARCO