It shouldn't have been so easy for Juventus on Saturday, but Fiorentina forgot to show up, and essentially handed the league leaders a 2-0 victory.
Despite Fiorentina starting off on the right foot, Juventus did as Juventus does -- sat back and waited for the quarter hour to pass before coming alive. Just two minutes into the match, the visitors had their first opportunity. Juan Cuadrado did well, streaking up the right side before sending the ball over to Stevan Jovetic. But, perhaps due to some aliens taking command of his neurological pathways, Jojo elected to send the ball into the stratosphere. This would become a theme of the match.
Next it was Cuadrado who had a chance, after Paolo De Cigle headed the ball directly into the Viola player's path. But Cuadrado couldn't get the angle right and the moment disappeared. On the other end, it was Claudio Marchisio who wasted a chance, taking a magnificent ball from Andrea Pirlo and sending it across the face of goal.
A minute later, Marchisio had a chance to redeem himself, but his shot went inches wide. Fiorentina seized the moment and raced off to the other end, but again, Jojo failed to make his chance count. A poor touch, a weak shot, and Gigi Buffon saved easily.
As Juventus came alive, Emiliano Viviano found himself called into action. He did well to save a shot from Mirko Vucinic, and even better to deal with a swerving ball from Stephan Lichtsteiner. But in the 20th minute, Viviano's luck ran out. Vucinic sent in a screamer from outside the area, and between the strength of the shot and the presence of Gonzalo Rodríguez in the goalkeeper's sight, there was nothing that could be done to prevent the goal.
Juve's second goal, coming in the 42nd, was even more lovely. Arturo Vidal did well to keep possession, muscling his way through two Fiorentina players. His absolutely perfect touch allowed the ball to land directly in the path of Alessandro Matri, who barely needed to break his stride before sending the ball into the net.
Oh, and did we mention that Matri was barefoot when he scored? Because...yeah.
The second half wasn't anywhere near as exciting as the first. Rather than being revived by the halftime talk of Vincenzo Montella, the visitors seemed to accept their fate, returning to the pitch with very little spark. Although Montella replaced Stefan Savic with Nenad Tomovic at halftime, he should have had the courage to remove Jovetic and put Adem Ljalic on in his place. Instead, Montella waited until the last fifteen minutes to make that change.
And so the rout continued. 2-0 may not look like a thorough victory, but that scoreline flatters Fiorentina. Juve went close a number of times, with Vidal placing a shot just over the top of Viviano's goal and Vucinic coming close on a second. Substitute Sebastian Giovinco, on for Vucinic, had two chances within 30 seconds, forcing Viviano into a save on the first, and going wide on the second.
While Ljalic's introduction introduced a bit of energy into the Viola side, the visitors just couldn't get the fire going. It took just a few minutes for Ljalic to take his first shot, which went just inches wide. But with little support from the rest of the players, that little spark flickered and died, leaving behind a poor taste in everyone's mouth.
Juventus: Gianluigi Buffon, Federico Peluso, Luca Marrone, Andrea Barzagli, Paolo De Ceglie (Martin Caceres 60), Claudio Marchisio, Andrea Pirlo, Arturo Vidal, Stephan Lichtsteiner, Mirko Vucinic (Sebastian Giovinco 62), Alessandro Matri (Paul Pogba 75)
Fiorentina: Emiliano Viviano, Facundo Roncaglia, Gonzalo Rodríguez, Stefan Savic (Nenad Tomovic 46), Juan Cuadrado, Romulo, David Pizarro, Borja Valero, Manuel Pasqual, Stevan Jovetic (Adem Ljalic 74), Luca Toni (Mounir El Hamdaoui 57)
Goals: Vucinic 20 (J), Matri 42 (J)