2016/2017 Italian Serie A
  • Sami Khedira (37')
  • Gonzalo Higuaín (75')
  • Nikola Kalinic (70')

Gonzalo Higuain scores winner on debut to give Juventus victory

Gonzalo Higuain got Juventus off to a winning start in Serie A. Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

Gonzalo Higuain scored the winner on his debut to clinch reigning champions Juventus a 2-1 opening-day win in Serie A against Fiorentina.

Argentina international Higuain, signed from Napoli for £75.3 million in July, fired home from close range in the second half after Fiorentina striker Nikola Kalinic had cancelled out Sami Khedira's brilliant first-half header.

Juve secured a fifth straight Scudetto title last season and appeared to be cruising in the first period, but they only had Khedira's goal to show for their dominance and nearly paid the price for wayward finishing when Kalinic stole in for a shock 70th-minute equaliser.

But Higuain, who equalled an 87-year-old Serie A record when scoring 36 league goals for Napoli last season, popped up when it mattered to spare Juve's blushes and ensured they made a winning start.

Germany international Khedira spurned an early opening by firing wide and it appeared a matter of time before Juve would open their goal account for the season against a side who had lost all their pre-season games.

Midfielder Kwadwo Asamoah and Paulo Dybala could easily have given Juve the lead but were off target when well-placed in the 19th and 21st minutes.

Striker Dybala threatened again on the half-hour mark and it was no surprise when the home side took the lead through Khedira's bullet header.

Giorgio Chiellini whipped in a super cross and Khedira stooped to power home an unstoppable header from 12 yards.

Defender Alex Sandro went close to scoring what would have been a deserved second for Juve in the 44th minute, but fired his angled drive over the crossbar.

Juve appeared to take their foot off the gas in the second half after Dybala had fired inches wide again and Fiorentina threatened through Gonzalo Rodriguez's header.

The visitors then hauled themselves level with 20 minutes remaining when Josip Ilicic set up Kalinic following a corner and the latter sent a header into the bottom corner.

But Higuain stole the show five minutes later when he clipped a left-footed finish from the left side of the six-yard box into the bottom corner to restore Juve's lead and the home side comfortably saw out the final 15 minutes.