Juventus had to work hard to break down newly promoted Lecce on Saturday as they eventually secured a 1-0 victory.
Massimiliano Allegri’s side were looking for an emphatic response to their Champions League elimination and, at times, it looked like they weren’t going to get one.
The opening stages were predictably turgid aside from a surprising number of fouls from the away side, who were racking up the yellow cards and preventing things from getting into a flow with their overzealous challenges.
Juve didn’t really work the Lecce goalkeeper until the 44th minute, when Adrien Rabiot’s header was palmed away by Wladimiro Falcone.
We’d have to wait 15 minutes after the break for the next save from Falcone, who did well to parry Arkadiusz Milik’s strike from the edge of the box.
In a desperate hunt for entertainment, Allegri returned to his bench to bring on young Samuel Iling Junior, and within seconds of his arrival, Juve were ahead.
The former Chelsea youngster found 21-year-old Nicolo Fagioli who, with 17 minutes to go, produced the first moment of real quality in the game as he bent a gorgeous effort into the top corner of the Lecce goal, celebrating in a flood of tears in what was a genuine show of emotion.
Lecce nearly spoiled the occasion late on as Morten Hjulmand struck the post, but in the end, Juve would hold on for an ugly victory which, despite the poor showing, you’d have to admit they deserved.