The reigning Italian champions started their 2013-14 campaign in Genoa against Sampdoria, the only team that managed to beat them twice last season. Perhaps it was the yellow shirts, but Juve didn't look as scary as they did versus Lazio in Supercoppa just a few days ago. They did start well, with Andrea Pirlo forcing Doria's keeper Angelo Da Costa to make first of a few spectacular saves in the third minute.
Both teams started as expected in a 3-5-2 formation. Antonio Conte opted for Mirko Vucinic and Carlos Tevez in the attack. Even though it was Juve that had most of the possession in the first half, it was Sampdoria that actually could be pleased with their performance. Most of the time, the ball was in Juve's half, with their defensive line passing to each other.
While Doria didn't manage any shots during the first half, they did make an attempt at taking the lead ten minutes in, with Eder entering the area and tried to trick the ref into giving him penalty. A few minutes later, Manolo Gabbiadini nutmeged Giorgio Chiellini who had to foul him just outside the penalty area. Sampdoria did threaten from time to time, but they mostly concentrated on keeping Juve as far away from their goal as possible.
The best chance for Juve in the first half was Kwadwo Asamoah's header after a corner, when, for some reason, Samp's defense left him all alone on the left side. Perhaps they knew it was Da Costa's day as he saved again, just like few minutes later when Vucinic sent a diagonal ball to Tevez, who took a shot from just inside the area, but once again, there was Da Costa. Vucinic offered a little comic relief when he tripped over himself, which was followed by Paul Pogba doing pretty much the same few seconds later.
The teams continued in the same rhythm in the second half, with Italy's best team dominating possession while Sampdoria patiently waited for a chance on the break. All it took for game to change is one brilliant Juventus move, which resulted in a Carlitos Tevez scoring his first goal on peninsula and 200th in career at club level.
This forced Rossi's team to be a little more active, as sitting back and waiting wasn't going to work anymore. Just 5 minutes later, Andrea Costa scored. "Yay!" said everyone who isn't a Juve or Genoa fan, but referee Luca Banti disallowed the goal, claiming it offside. Sampdoria threatened, first with Pedro Obiang's shot from distance, then a De Silvestri's cross from the right side which created a dangerous situation but no shot from the Doriani.
Not much happened in the last 15 minutes, but we did see a Serie A debut for another Juve summer signing, Fernando Llorente, as well as first red card of the season for Paolo Castellini, after his foul on Stefan Lichsteiner.
It wasn't a spectacular game, although heavy rain could in part be responsible for that. But it was kind of game that in the end win titles - tough away matches versus organized opponents. Juve surely weren't spectacular but they did enough to win it, while Sampdoria didn't show that much in attacking sense. Their few shots here and there and one glimpse of Gabbiadini's talent could, in some situations, be enough for an uninspiring 0:0, but not today.
Sampdoria: Da Costa, Gastaldello (Mustafi 72'), Palombo, Costa, De Silvestri, Eramo (Soriano 72'), Krsticic, Obiang, Berrardi (Castellini 83'), Eder, Gabbiadini
Red card: Castellini '90
Juventus: Buffon, Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini, Lichtsteiner, Vidal, Pirlo, Pogba, Asamoah, Tevez (Llorente 90'), Vucinic (Giovinco 90')
Goals: Tevez 58'