Serie A - Krasic hat-trick helps Juve to win
Juventus finally got their first home win of the season after a hat-trick from Milos Krasic fired them to a 4-2 victory over Cagliari in Turin.
In the second half Leonardo Bonucci claimed a debatable third before Krasic completed his hat-trick with a deflected shot and, while Matri pulled one back for Pier Paolo Bisolo’s side with the best goal of the game, Cagliari were well beaten.
The win came at a cost though as Amauri, who had a good game on his return to the starting line-up, was stretchered off in injury time with an apparent Achilles injury.
The result pulls Juventus - second bottom at the start of play - into mid table, one point above Cagliari.
Fallen giants Juve have had a rough time of late and coach Luigi del Neri responded to the 3-1 midweek defeat at home to Palermo by making four changes.
Italy strikers Amauri and Vincenzo Iaquinta came in for compatriots Fabio Quagliarella and Alessandro Del Piero, while Leandro Rinaudo replaced Marco Motta at right-back and Alberto Aquilani was handed a start in midfield.
The decisions were largely good ones, as the adeptness at the new strikers in holding the ball up allowed Juve to play a passing, possession game while adding a serious physical threat to the front-line.
They went close in the fourth minute as Simone Pepe blasted over from the edge of the box after a Barcelona-esque spell of passing, while Iaquinta missed two excellent headed chances from Pepe crosses in quick succession.
The Bianconeri took a deserved lead on 13 minutes as Krasic, so often the supplier, nabbed his first goal for the club, a low drive through a crowded penalty after Cagliari failed to clear a corner.
But Juve’s defensive demons reared their ugly heads soon afterwards, as the increasingly flaky Giorgio Chiellini and Bonucci allowed Matri to ghost in and finish an admittedly excellent left-wing cross from Andrea Lazzari.
Cagliari, playing on the break as Juve sought to pass their way to goal, almost went ahead against the run of play when a superb turn by Matri left the wooden Bonucci for dead, but his drilled ball across the face of goal was too quick for Roberto Acquafresca to reach.
That seemed to jolt Juve back into action, and Krasic restored the lead with a far-post finish from Pepe’s cross, aided first by Amauri’s hard work to win back a seemingly lost ball and second by shoddy defending from Agostini to let the Serb in.
The visitors almost equalised early in the second half but Astori was denied a far-post bullet header by a quite remarkable reflex stop from Marco Storari in the Juve goal.
Juve responded well to that chance, Felipe Melo driving just wide from the edge of the area after Krasic again tore down the right.
They extended their lead on 56 minutes when a Pepe corner caused havoc in the Cagliari defence, the ball bundled over the line and both Bonucci and Iaquinta claiming it, although replays seemed to show that the last touch was by Cagliari defender Michele Canini.
Cagliari responded gamely and should have pulled one back when Matri arrived unmarked in the box, but he could only curl his finish beyond the far post.
But Krasic completed his hat-trick to put the result beyond doubt, capitalising on a loose ball after Cagliari failed to clear a corner and poking an effort on goal that was deflected by the hapless Canini past Agazzi into the bottom left.
Cagliari should have scored a second when substitute Nene blasted over from close range after more comic defending from Chiellini and co.
They got one in some style when, with 10 minutes left, Lazzari curled a wonderful defence-splitting pass with the outside of his left boot to allow Matri, who stayed onside with a diagonal run, a simple finish.
Juve were then forced to ride out six minutes of injury time with 10 men after Amauri was carried off in agony after an awkward landing on his right foot, an apparent Achilles injury putting his season in some doubt.
Cagliari failed to build on it though, clearly tiring as Juve kept the ball well and closed out a win ahead of Thursday's mouth-watering Europa League clash against Manchester City at Eastlands.