ROME, Italy (AP) – In its first match without Cristiano Ronaldo, Juventus lost 1-0 at home to promoted Empoli on Saturday.
The visitors claimed a stunning victory thanks to Leonardo Mancuso’s first-half goal, leaving Juventus without a win in the Italian league after two games. Last Saturday, Juve drew 2-2 with Udinese in their first match.
On Friday, Ronaldo returned to Manchester United, a day after notifying Juventus that he no longer wanted to play for them. For the past two seasons, the Portugal international has been the leading scorer in Serie A, with 101 goals in 134 appearances.
Juventus might have used him against Empoli, which has only recently regained its place in Italy’s top flight.
After Nedim Bajrami’s original shot was diverted into his path, Mancuso scored from close range in the 21st minute. After the goal, the visitors refused to take it easy.
After a dismal first half, Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri substituted Alvaro Morata, a forward, for American midfielder Weston McKennie at halftime.
Soon after, Federico Bernardeschi replaced Adrien Rabiot in the middle, but the visitors continued to press.
As Juve showed indications of improvement, Paulo Dybala had a couple of near attempts, but too frequently the home team’s moves fell down at the final pass, triggering an angry outburst from Allegri on the sideline.
When Manuel Locatelli’s ball for Morata was diverted away by an Empoli defender but no corner was awarded, Juventus’ players were furious.