Football: Gonzalo Higuain gets Juventus going in 2-1 win over Fiorentina

Juventus' Gonzalo Higuain celebrates after scoring the winner against Fiorentina in a 2-1 win.
Juventus' Gonzalo Higuain celebrates after scoring the winner against Fiorentina in a 2-1 win. PHOTO: EPA

ROME (Reuters) - Juventus launched their bid for a sixth successive league title after their record signing Gonzalo Higuain came off the bench to grab a trademark winner in a 2-1 success over Fiorentina on the opening day of the Serie A season.

In the new curtain-raiser earlier on Saturday, AS Roma produced a superb second-half performance in to thrash Udinese 4-0 at the Olympic stadium after coach Luciano Spaletti left stalwarts Francesco Totti and Daniele De Rossi on the bench.

Higuain, who joined Juve from Napoli in a €90 million (S$137.25 million) close-season deal, pounced at the far post in the 75th minute after coming on midway through the second half.

The Argentina striker rescued the rusty-looking champions who had taken the lead when Germany midfielder Sami Khedira met Giorgio Chiellini's perfect cross with a thumping header in the 37th.

With Juventus sitting on their lead, the visitors pressed and briefly redressed the balance after Croatia striker Nikola Kalinic rose above his marker and emphatically headed home a corner 20 minutes from time.

But their joy was short-lived as Higuain, introduced moments before Fiorentina's equaliser, got on the end of a ricochet and swept it in from close range to delight a packed home crowd.

In contrast, Roma, who last won the title in 2001, enjoyed plain sailing as their adventurous formation, featuring Mohamed Salah and Stephan El Shaarawy either side of striker Edin Dzeko, fired on all cylinders after a goal-less opening period.

The floodgates opened as substitute Diego Perotti put the home side in the driving seat with a pair of coolly converted penalties in the 65th and 75th minutes after Dzeko and Salah were respectively hauled down in the area.

Dzeko made it 3-0 in the 82nd with an easy finish from three metres after a teasing low cross by Radja Nainggolan and Salah put the icing on the cake two minutes later when he swept home a rebound from close range.

In Sunday's standout fixture, AC Milan face their former boss Sinisa Mihajlovic, who returns to the San Siro stadium after taking over at Torino in May.