Serie A: Gonzalo Higuain nets Juventus winner against Fiorentina
Last Updated: 20/08/16 10:48pm
After becoming the most expensive transfer in Italian football history, Gonzalo Higuain quickly showed his value by coming off the bench to score the winner in Juventus' 2-1 victory over Fiorentina on the opening day of Serie A.
Higuain, who signed from Napoli in a €90m deal, scored from a tight angle after a shot from Sami Khedira was deflected just eight minutes and 26 seconds after he came on and with just his third touch.
Earlier on Saturday, substitute Diego Perotti converted two penalties before setting up another goal as likely title-challengers Roma produced a second-half outburst to beat visiting Udinese 4-0 in the Italian league opener.
In Turin, Khedira had put Juventus ahead with a header from the centre of the area midway through the first half, meeting a cross from Giorgio Chiellini.
Fiorentina were unable to produce a single shot in the first half but Nikola Kalinic equalised in the 70th minute with a header following a corner.
Five minutes later, Higuain was celebrating and the Juventus Stadium was rocking in welcoming its new star.
Fans had started cheering the moment Higuain got off the bench to warm up.
"They made me feel their affection from the first moment," Higuain said. "Hopefully I can repay this affection with goals and victories."
Higuain scored 36 times for Napoli last season to break a 66-year-old Serie A record for goals scored in a single season.
"I'm always confident, I just had to work," he said.
Former Barcelona winger Dani Alves also impressed on his Juventus debut.
Having also signed crafty playmaker Miralem Pjanic from Roma, expert defender Medhi Benatia from Bayern Munich and prized winger Marco Pjaca from Dinamo Zagreb, Juventus have assembled a squad that is expected to contend for the Champions League title.
Few observers expect Juventus to be challenged in Serie A, where they are attempting to win a record sixth consecutive title.
"We want to win all the titles possible this year," Higuain said. "But there's a long way to go. We're only at the start."
It was also a perfect start for Roma as the Giallorossi prepare for the return leg of the Champions League play-offs on Tuesday against Porto, following a 1-1 draw in the opening leg.
"It was really important to win and start well so we can approach the Porto match serenely," Perotti said.
Perotti's first spot kick came in the 65th after Edin Dzeko used a sharp change of direction to make defender Danilo fall on top of him.
Perotti played a part in drawing the second penalty, sending a through ball to Mohammed Salah, who sped past the defense, prompting Emmanuel Badu to tug him over.
Dzeko made it 3-0 from close range with his ninth Serie A goal in the 82nd and Salah finished things off two minutes later after taking a long pass from Perotti.
Roma have finished in the top three positions of the Italian league in each of the last three seasons and is looking to take home a trophy this campaign.
"I feel great with Roma. I feel the confidence of my teammates and the entire club," Perotti said. "I'm always thinking about helping the squad, even off of the bench."