2017/2018 Italian Serie A
  • Mario Mandzukic (52')
  • Milan Badelj (66')

Mario Mandzukic goal enough to give Juventus victory

Mario Mandzukic fired Juventus to a 1-0 victory over fierce rivals Fiorentina in Turin.

The Croatian hitman struck in the 52nd minute to make it five wins out of five for the reigning Serie A champions.

Fiorentina finished the game with 10 men after Milan Badelj was sent off with 25 minutes remaining.

The action all came in the second half after a desperately disappointing first period was played out without a single effort on target.

Juve's Paulo Dybala went closest with a free-kick which curled around the defensive wall but flew narrowly wide.

At the other end Jordan Veretout took aim from outside the box but his shot did not trouble Wojciech Szczesny as it flew high over the crossbar.

As the half came to a close Juve frontman Gonzalo Higuain threatened for the first time, turning on the edge of the area only to see his drive deflected wide.

The breakthrough arrived seven minutes after the interval when Juve suddenly found their groove.

A swift break down the right culminated in Juan Cuadrado whipping in a superb cross between the Fiorentina backline and goalkeeper Marco Sportiello.

Mandzukic needed no second invitation as he threw himself forward to guide his glancing header inside the far post.

Juve thought they had been awarded a penalty after Badelj tripped Blaise Matuidi as he attempted to race into the area.

But after consulting with the video replays, the referee decided the initial contact had taken place outside the box.

The decision was not enough to save Badeji from a second yellow card, but Juve wasted the free-kick.

Mandzukic had another chance to double the lead with another far post header but this time the angle favoured Sportiello, who was able to block the effort.

Cuadrado then tried his luck with a vicious, swerving long-range shot which Sportiello again did well to palm away.

Fiorentina had a late chance to grab an equaliser but Giovanni Simeone's shot was deflected wide.