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Paulo Dybala celebrates scoring for Juventus as the Serie A outfit coast to victory against Malmo
Paulo Dybala celebrates scoring for Juventus as the Serie A outfit coast to victory against Malmo

Paulo Dybala and Alvaro Morata were on target as Juventus cruised to a 3-0 victory over Malmo in Tuesday's Champions League Group H opener.

Alex Sandro was the unlikely scorer of the opening goal before Dybala added a second from the penalty spot after a foul on Morata, who netted a third on the stroke of half-time.

Substitute Moise Kean rounded Ismael Diawara in the second half, only for Juve to be denied a fourth goal by the offside flag as Malmo struggled in their first group-stage appearance since 2015-16.

Massimiliano Allegri, who led Juve to the final in 2014-15 and again two seasons later, may be winless so far in Serie A on his return to Turin but his side started their continental campaign impressively.

Dybala spurned a glorious early opportunity as he slipped and wastefully fired over when through one-on-one with Diawara before Soren Rieks volleyed narrowly over for Malmo.

The hosts looked bright, but it was Alex Sandro who broke the deadlock after 23 minutes with a diving header into the bottom-left corner after Juan Cuadrado's delivery clipped Rodrigo Bentancur and found the left-back.

Alex Sandro should have doubled his account but angled wide before Dybala rolled his spot-kick down the middle following Lasse Nielsen's drag down on Morata in the final minutes of the half.

Morata joined in on the act moments later, the Spain forward racing through before fortuitously chipping over the incoming Diawara as Juve scored three first-half Champions League goals for the first time since 2012.

After the break, Morata searched for a second but could only power wide before seeing his left-footed drive denied by Diawara's smart reflex save after Dybala's intelligent flick-on.

Kean, who was slotted in by fellow substitute Weston McKennie, thought he had scored a fourth but was offside as Juve coasted towards their first win and the final whistle at the Eleda Stadion.

What does it mean? Allegri's away-day specialists start emphatically

Allegri returned to the helm with the Bianconeri in Europe for the first time since April 2019 and maintained his side's perfect record against Swedish opposition in continental competition.

The visitors have now only lost one of their last 12 group-stage away games, winning each of their last six and scoring at least two goals in all of those wins.

Malmo sit bottom of Group H after Tuesday's defeat, registering the worst loss percentage (85) of any team to play 10 or more games in the Champions League and have scored just three times in their 11 outings.

Classy Cuadrado

Cuadrado, who registered more assists than any other player in the Champions League last season (six), may not have been credited with the assist for Dybala's opener but that takes nothing away from his imperious performance.

The Colombian produced a game-high six crosses, providing three key passes – another game-leading figure - while completing 91 per cent of his passes in the Malmo half as part of a dominant attacking showing.

Colak struggles

Antonio-Mirko Colak scored five of Malmo's 13 goals during qualification to lead the scoring charts in the early rounds.

However, the striker struggled against Leonardo Bonucci and Matthijs de Ligt, recording just 21 touches and 14 passes – the lowest of any outfield player to play 90 minutes – as he won just four of his 11 duels in a timid outing.

Key Opta Stats: Morata makes his mark

- Morata has scored six goals in his last six away games in the Champions League, as many as he had scored in his previous 22 away games in the competition.
- Malmo have conceded 20 goals over their last four Champions League matches – that is the most goals a team has ever conceded over a four-game spell in the competition.
- Juventus have opened a Champions League campaign with a win by a 3+ goal margin for just the second time, the other being a 5-1 win against Feyenoord to start the 1997-98 edition.
- Alex Sandro scored his first Champions League goal in what was his 68th game in the competition. Of all players with at least one goal, only Gary Neville took longer to score his first (77 games).

What's next?

Juventus return to Serie A action as they invite Milan to Turin on Sunday, with their next group game against Chelsea on September 29, while Malmo host Djurgarden on Saturday.

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10:38 (+00:00)16 Sep 2021 (Thu)