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Juventus ease to win at Udinese, Belotti and De Ketelaere end droughts

Juventus got their Serie A season off to a perfect start with Sunday’s 3-0 stroll at Udinese which suggested they will be in the title mix, while Lecce struck twice late to beat last year’s runners-up Lazio 2-1.

Massimiliano Allegri’s Juve did all the damage in the first half with an early strike from Federico Chiesa, Dusan Vlahovic’s penalty and a header from Adrien Rabiot just before the break.

The away side then sat on their lead and comfortably held out for the win, and the return to form of injury-prone Chiesa will give Juve a boost as they try to bounce back from last season’s scandals.

Points deductions over transfer irregularities led to Juve finishing seventh last term and then a ban from European football by governing body UEFA.

Without continental competition and with a fit squad Juve have been tipped to challenge for the Scudetto, and on Sunday’s evidence they will be a tough team to beat.

With 84 minutes gone at Lecce Ciro Immobile’s 197th Lazio goal seemed to be the decisive strike. 

But after the Italy forward had a shot tipped onto the post Lecce new boy Pontus Almqvist levelled with a superb left-footed finish from the edge of the penalty area.

And seconds later Federico Di Francesco sent the 30,000 home fans wild with joy when he reacted quickest to lash in a low drive which left Ivan Provedel with no chance.

Goal droughts ended

Earlier, Andrea Belotti and Charles De Ketelaere both ended long scoring droughts as Roma were held 2-2 by Salernitana and Atalanta ran out 2-0 winners at Sassuolo.

Italy forward Belotti scored his first Serie A goals for Roma, breaking a league duck which stretched back to May last year when he opened the scoring in the 17th minute at a packed Stadio Olimpico.

And after Antonio Candreva put the away side in the lead with two beautiful strikes either side of half-time, Belotti then powerfully headed Roma level from Leandro Paredes’ corner with eight minutes remaining.

“Unfortunately I had a very difficult last season, I didn’t have a pre-season, I got injured. I was never at 100 percent,” Belotti told DAZN.

“This year I’ve managed to do the whole pre-season without any problems, and I know that when I’m at 100 percent I can be very useful.”

Roma are looking for a new striker as Tammy Abraham will be out until January but Belotti underlined his desire to battle whoever is brought is as competition.

“All I know is that when I’m on the pitch I need to help my team to win. Regardless of who arrives, I’ll be ready to play,” Belotti said.

De Ketelaere failed to score a single goal for AC Milan last season after signing for 35 million euros from Club Brugge.

But the Belgium international got off to the perfect start as an Atalanta loanee, heading in the opening goal in the 83rd minute before Nadir Zortea lashed in the dominate away team’s second in stoppage time.

“It’s a good feeling for which I’d been waiting for a while. It feels good to score and win,” said the 22-year-old.

“I always want to play as well as possible, and this year is the same as any other. I like our style of play and that’s one of the reasons why I came here.”

Sassuolo were without star man Domenico Berardi whose hoped move to Juve, who are at Udinese later on Sunday, fell through in the week.

CEO Giovanni Carnevali said before kick-off that Berardi will not be leaving for Juve as Sassuolo would not have time between now and the end of the transfer window to find a replacement.

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