Pirlo beats former boss Lucescu as Juve make winning start

·2 min read

(Reuters) - More than 25 years after Mircea Lucescu handed Andrea Pirlo his professional debut, the Juventus coach came back to haunt his old manager as he guided the Turin side to a 2-0 Champions League win over Dynamo Kyiv in their opener.

Pirlo was just 16 when then-Brescia coach Lucescu picked him for a Serie A game against Reggiana in May 1995 and launched a glittering career. On Tuesday, Pirlo corrected some of the recent flaws in his team to defeat his former boss.

"Today it was important to have a solid game," Pirlo said."We could have used our chances better in the first half but we did well to break the deadlock early in the second half, and afterwards we controlled the game much better."

The array of attacking talent at Pirlo's disposal makes his job somewhat easier than that of his old coach and Juve prospered in the Group G game even without Cristiano Ronaldo, who was sidelined after testing positive for COVID-19.

"(Federico) Chiesa can play on both flanks, (Dejan) Kulusevski can play both wide and in the middle, (Aaron) Ramsey as well. I think we have several options upfront," Pirlo added.

"Let's not forget that we were without Ronaldo and (Paulo) Dybala was not in good condition."

Morata scored twice and Kulusevski was instrumental in the opening goal as Argentine forward Dybala, who has been struggling with a thigh muscle injury, came off the bench.

"Dybala needs to play to return to full fitness. He came in tonight and played for around half an hour but he certainly needs more minutes in his legs to be at full fitness," Pirlo said.

For his old coach Lucescu, the difference in class was key.

"The stronger and more experienced team has won. Technically, they are on another level," he said.

(Reporting by Philip O'Connor; Editing by Ken Ferris)