Matthijs de Ligt scored the decisive goal as Juventus came from behind to beat Spezia 3-2 and belatedly claim their first Serie A win of the season.
Failure to seal maximum points at Stadio Alberto Picco would have seen the Bianconeri go five games without a victory at the start of an Italian top-flight season for the first time since 1955-56.
Massimiliano Allegri’s side went ahead through Moise Kean’s first goal since he rejoined his boyhood club from Everton, yet Spezia stormed back through Emmanuel Gyasi and Janis Antiste either side of half-time.
Federico Chiesa restored parity with a fine goal, though, before De Ligt ensured a much-needed first win of the campaign with 18 minutes remaining.
The Bianconeri had deservedly taken the lead shortly before the half-hour mark, with Kean collecting Adrien Rabiot’s knockdown and firing in off Jeroen Zoet’s right-hand post from 18 yards.
It took the hosts just five minutes to respond, however, as Gyasi cut in from the left and fired across Wojciech Szczesny courtesy of a slight deflection.
Paulo Dybala forced a fingertip save from Zoet soon after – one of 11 first-half Juve attempts to Spezia’s two – but the visitors fell behind four minutes after the interval when Antiste jinked inside Leonardo Bonucci after a swift counter-attack and clipped past Szczesny.
Zoet denied Kean and Dybala, as Juve desperately tried to claw their way back into the game, and the pressure told in the 66th minute when Chiesa fired in after superbly finding his way through the Spezia defence.
De Ligt then lifted some of the clouds that had begun to gather over the Turin giants, powering past Zoet after a corner had fallen kindly to him, much to the relief of Allegri.
— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) September 22, 2021
What does it mean? Juve do just enough… for now
Juve’s issues will not be solved by a win against one of Serie A’s smallest clubs, but a first triumph of the campaign will at least give Allegri and his players some much-needed time out of the spotlight. It was far from pretty, but few can argue against them deserving to head back to Turin with all three points. They looked shaky at the back, yet a total 26 shots speaks of their impressive attacking play.
The win lifted the Bianconeri up to 12th ahead of Wednesday’s late games, while Spezia dropped to 16th.
Chiesa finds his form
Chiesa had started the season slowly after a superb Euro 2020 with Italy, but he was a talismanic force in Juve’s fightback. His goal came from four shots – the joint second-highest of any player on the pitch – while he made a staggering game-high eight key passes.
Rodrigo Bentancur was replaced at half-time and it was not hard to see why. The Uruguay international was ineffective at both ends, failing to register a shot, a key pass or a tackle while losing all four of his duels.
Juve host Sampdoria in Serie A on Sunday, while Spezia welcome Milan to Stadio Alberto Picco a day earlier.