Juventus cruise to first win
Turin - Juventus maintained their bid for a place in the knockout phase of the Champions League by securing their first Group E win with a 4-0 defeat of Nordsjaelland on Wednesday.
Antonio Conte's Italian champions are still licking the wounds of last Sunday's defeat by Serie A rivals Inter Milan which stopped the Turin giants' unbeaten run at 49 games.
But two weeks after their third draw, Juve turned on the class to grab their first win in the group stages as Kasper Hjulmand's visitors failed to reproduce their heroics that earned them a 1-1 draw in Farum.
Nordsjaelland failed to get a shot on goal even after Claudio Marchisio, Arturo Vidal and Sebastian Giovinco had given the hosts a 3-0 first-half lead and were given little hope after Fabio Quagliarella made it 4-0 midway through the second half.
After Chelsea's late win over Shakhtar Donetsk left the defending champions in second place one point ahead of Juve, assistant Juve coach Angelo Alessio admitted his side's clash at home to the English side will be crucial.
"We must beat Chelsea at home in the next game if we are to earn our place in the next round," Alessio told Sky Sport.
"We wanted to go out there with the right degree of intensity and the lads got it right for this type of performance."
Marchisio admitted Juventus's defeat to Inter had put the fire back in Juve's bellies.
"After our defeat to Inter there was a lot of talk, but someone forgot to mention we hadn't been beat for over a year," said the Italian.
"We could have suffered a psychological blow, but we didn't let that happen."
Alessio, Juve's stand-in coach while Conte serves a touchline ban, left Montenegrin striker Mirko Vucinic on the bench, preferring Alessandro Matri over Quagliarella to partner Giovinco up front.
However the stars of the opening period were midfielders Andrea Pirlo and Marchisio.
Veteran Pirlo's dead ball skills and positioning were deadly while Marchisio's vision and movement in the area kept the Danes on their toes all night.
Marchisio settled Juve's nerves early when he beat defender Jores Okore to Vidal's whipped cross from the right to beat Jesper Hansen from close range in the seventh minute.
Hansen stopped Marchisio from doubling the lead on 17 minutes when he blocked a close-range shot following another inviting ball from Vidal.
Yet Matri, with a header, and Giovinco's first-time effort gave Nordsjaelland a hint of what was to come.
Marchisio began the move which led to Juve's second goal, but it was Vidal's persistence at the second time of asking that allowed him to beat Hansen from a tight angle in the 23rd minute.
Matri got another free header from Pirlo's corner from the right and then Marchisio forced a block from Hansen after unleashing a shot from 10 yards after pouncing on a loose ball.
On 37 minutes the Danish defence was sorely exposed when a sublime pass from Pirlo found Giovinco unmarked on the right and the 'Atomic Ant' had time to pick his spot before sending an angled shot past Hansen at the far post.
At 3-0 behind Nordsjaelland had yet to have a real shot on goal and things did not improve after the interval.
Vidal saw an early strike collected by Hansen but it was to be his last contribution before being replaced by French tyro Paul Pogba.
Defender Patrick Mtiliga provided Nordsjaelland's small delegation of fans with some cheer when he tested Gianluigi Buffon with a shot which the Juve keeper parried on 63 minutes.
However that was to be the sum of their efforts as Juve continued to dominate and were unlucky not to pile on more agony.
Late on, Matri's frustration intensified when he missed two clear chances and, the striker was not overjoyed when his knock-on header allowed second-half substitute Quagliarella to beat Hansen with his header from close range.