Mandzukic again off form as Juventus struggles to 1-0 win

It was meant to be the match where Mario Mandzukic showed he could be more than an understudy.

Published: 25th September 2016 12:53 AM  |   Last Updated: 25th September 2016 12:53 AM   |  A+A-


Juventus midfielder Mario Lemina, right, battles for the ball with Palermo forward Nobert Balogh, during the Italian Serie A soccer match between Palermo and Juventus at the Renzo Barbera stadium in Palermo, Italy, Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016. | AP


MILAN: It was meant to be the match where Mario Mandzukic showed he could be more than an understudy to Gonzalo Higuain this season.

Instead, the Croatia forward again appeared off form and disinterested as Juventus struggled to a hard-fought 1-0 win at Palermo in Serie A on Saturday.

This was the first time the duo played together in a tactical experiment that appears to have failed. Juventus looked thoroughly unimpressive.

Juventus found it hard to break down a resilient Palermo side and the only goal came about thanks to a slice of fortune for Massimiliano Allegri's side three minutes after the break. Dani Alves' long-range effort took a massive deflection off Edoardo Goldaniga's heel, sending the ball past Palermo goalkeeper Josip Posavec.

Mandzukic netted 10 goals in his debut season at Juventus but has been overshadowed since Higuain arrived from rival Napoli for an Italian-record fee of 90 million euros ($99 million) in the offseason. He has yet to score in six matches, including four starts.

In Sicily, Mandzukic again failed to impress, wasting a free header in the first half and seeing a tame effort saved in the 70th, when he should have done better from close range.

The former Bayern Munich forward did have the ball in the back of the net moments later but he was offside when Dani Alves' free kick was floated in. Video replays showed Mandzukic should have left it for Alex Sandro, who was in a similar position but onside.

Mandzukic, who played only the final 10 minutes of the midweek 4-0 victory over Cagliari, started in last weekend's 2-1 defeat at Inter Milan, but Juventus looked much more threatening when he was replaced by Higuain with a quarter of an hour remaining.

Juventus moved four points clear of Napoli, which hosted Chievo Verona late.

Stay up to date on all the latest Sport news with The New Indian Express App. Download now


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp