Dusan Vlahovic ended his four-month Juventus goal drought with a brace and an assist for Filip Kostic, securing a confident 3-0 victory away to Salernitana.
The Bianconeri were only two points in front of their opponents going in, after the -15 penalty for artificially inflating transfer fees, so Max Allegri warned to treat this as a relegation dogfight. Arkadiusz Milik, Leonardo Bonucci, Leandro Paredes, Paul Pogba and Kaio Jorge were injured, while the hosts missed Federico Fazio, Giulio Maggiore, Pasquale Mazzocchi and Norbert Gyomber.
These sides played a hugely controversial 2-2 draw in September, when Salernitana fumbled the 2-0 lead and Juve saw their last-gasp winner incorrectly disallowed for offside, because there was a VAR camera blind spot.
Vlahovic couldn’t steer his diving header on target, while Danilo attempted a cheeky midfield lob when seeing Guillermo Ochoa off his line.
The breakthrough came when Fabio Miretti got in front of his former Juventus NextGen teammate Hans Nicolussi Caviglia and the Salernitana man caught the back of his ankle for a penalty. Vlahovic stepped up and converted off the inside of the near post.
Vlahovic seemed to rediscover his confidence and turned a half-volley over after Di Maria’s ball floated over the top, then skipped away from a defender to drill across the face of goal.
Adrien Rabiot had to make a crucial interception to stop Boulaye Dia getting on the end of a cross at the back post, but Miretti was stretchered off in agony after spraining his left ankle.
Moments later, Juve doubled their lead when Junior Sambia’s poor clearance was straight at Vlahovic, the volley was scuffed, but bounced into the path of Filip Kostic to score from six yards.
It should’ve been 3-0 on the stroke of half-time, but Ochoa rushed off his line to close down Manuel Locatelli’s flick from point-blank range.
That did arrive within a minute of the restart, as Nicolussi Caviglia’s misplaced midfield pass was intercepted by substitute Nicolò Fagioli, who threaded through for Vlahovic to smash past Ochoa.
Salernitana had a huge opportunity to get back into it, as Sambia flashed a ball across the six-yard box that was inches past Dia at the back post. However, Di Maria came even closer with a scorcher that rattled the crossbar from the edge of the box on Vlahovic’s lay-off.
Federico Bonazzoli turned a half-volley wide from the edge of the box, as did Dylan Bronn, while Vlahovic was furious with Federico Chiesa for firing over rather than returning the pass.
Moise Kean thought he’d got the fourth off the bench from a Chiesa assist, but the low drive thumped the base of the upright from 14 yards.
Salernitana 0-3 Juventus
Vlahovic pen 26, 47 (J), Kostic 45 (J)
Salernitana: Ochoa; Sambia, Troost-Ekong, Bronn, Bradaric (Bonazzoli 60); Candreva, Coulibaly (Kastanos 80), Nicolussi Caviglia (Bohinen 71), Vilhena (Lovato 46), Dia; Piatek (Crnigoj 71)
Juventus: Szczesny; Danilo, Bremer, Alex Sandro; De Sciglio (Iling 79), Rabiot, Locatelli, Miretti (Fagioli 43), Kostic (Cuadrado 62); Di Maria (Chiesa 62); Vlahovic (Kean 79)