New Udinese signing Cyril Thereau pounced late in the second half to secure a 1-0 win away to Juventus and hand the champions their first ever opening-day defeat in Turin.

In 40 previous matches on the opening day of the Serie A season, Juventus had lost only once, a 1-0 reverse away to Bari in 2010.

Yet after dominating for long periods, Juve ultimately failed to convert their many chances and were stunned in the 78th minute when Thereau — signed in the off-season from Chievo — escaped his marker to slide the ball past Gianluigi Buffon at the keeper’s far post.

Udinese, Italy’s northern-most club based in the Friuli region, last beat Juventus in 2011.

A new-look Juve lined up for their first game of the season after the summer departures of Arturo Vidal (Bayern Munich), Andrea Pirlo (New York City FC) and Carlos Tevez (Boca Juniors).

Coach Massimiliano Allegri deployed a 3-5-2 and for most of the game Juve’s expectant fans were thrilled with the decision.

Juve dominated throughout and Udinese struggled to get out of their half but on the flip side the hosts struggled to break down the visitors’ stubborn defence.

Kingsley Coman started ahead of star signing Pauolo Dybala

Allegri left Pauolo Dybala on the bench as Kingsley Coman partnered Mario Mandzukic up front and it looked a wise decision as the pair mustered a handful of chances.

Early on Coman pounced on a loose ball after Mandzukic tumbled under a challenge but the Frenchman’s weak shot trickled into the hands of Orestis Karnezis.

Juve went closer on 19 minutes when Stephan Lichsteiner ran on to a header to fire a deflected shot just wide of the far post.

Roberto Pereyra then ran on to a loose ball following a challenge on Coman only to produce a weak shot that gave Karnezis no problems.

Lichsteiner, switched to the wingback position in Allegri’s 3-5-2, was finding plenty of space down the right and unleashed an angled drive that forced Karnezis to block.

The Swiss international then turned provider for Mandzukic, but the Croatian sent a looping header over the bar while under pressure in the box.

It was a one-sided but ultimately frustrating first half for the champions, but Allegri stuck with his gameplan for the start of the second half.

Minutes after Paul Pogba sent a speculative first-time volley inches wide, Mandzukic rose to connect in the box but his angled header met traffic.

Juventus-Udinese

Udinese’s forays forward were few, and proving risky. A Juve counter was launched by Coman but a Udinese boot came to the rescue after Mandzukic headed the Frenchman’s cross into Pereyra’s path yards from goal.

Karnezis was forced down moments later to block Simone Padoin’s low drive as Juve pinged the ball around the area unchallenged.

Cyril Thereau stunned Juventus 12 minutes from time

Dybala replaced Coman just after the hour, with former Napoli striker Duvan Zapata replacing Antonio Di Natale for Udinese minutes later, and had an almost immediate impact.

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The diminutive Argentinian threaded a perfect ball through for Pogba, but after first rounding Thomas Heurtaux the defender did well to slide in and deny the Frenchman.

Juve were throwing everything at Udinese, Patrice Evra even firing a first-timer into the hands of Karnezis after Pogba’s lay-off on the edge of the area.

But the hosts were stunned 12 minutes form time when Thereau was left alone at the back post to slide a cross-field ball from Panagiotis Kone past Buffon.

By AFP