Good evening! Thank you very much for joining Sports Mole for the beginning of the new Italian football season as Serie A champions Juventus take on Coppa Italia winners Lazio in the Super Cup final!
Juventus are aiming to retain this trophy having beaten Napoli 4-2 in the fixture last season. They also beat Napoli in the race to reach this year's match, finishing nine points above them to take their second consecutive Serie A crown.
Lazio, meanwhile, reached the final through the other route - success in the domestic cup. They picked up a famous victory over bitter rivals Roma in the final of the Coppa Italia last season, running out narrow 1-0 winners in the end.
Without further ado, I have some team news for you! Carlos Tevez
is not a stranger to headlines and he makes them again with his inclusion in the starting lineup today. It will be his competitive debut for Juventus following his summer move from Manchester City. Lucas Biglia will also be making his debut this evening as Lazio include him in their starting lineup. New signings Fernando Llorente
and Angelo Ogbonna, meanwhile, are left on the bench for Juventus. Full team news coming right up.
JUVENTUS STARTING XI: Buffon; Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini; Lichtsteiner, Vidal, Pirlo, Marchisio, Asamoah; Vucinic, Tevez
JUVENTUS SUBS: Storari, Caceres, Isla, Ogbonna, De Ceglie, Marrone, Padoin, Pogba, Giovinco, Matri, Quagliarella, Llorente
LAZIO STARTING XI: Marchetti; Cavanda, Biava, Dias, Radu; Biglia, Ledesma; Candreva, Hernanes, Lulic; Klose
LAZIO SUBS: Bizzarri, Gonzalez, Rozzi, Novaretti, Ederson, Cana, Kozak, Ciani, Onazi, Floccari, Strakosha
No real surprises for either side, then. Barzagli was considered doubtful for the match but has recovered sufficiently to earn himself a starting place, while Llorente had been tipped by some to make his full debut but Vucinic is preferred to the new signing.
The attacking duo of Tevez and Vucinic has been the most impressive of an underwhelming pre-season campaign for Juventus. They finished dead last in the International Champions Cup over the summer, losing on penalties to Everton and Inter and falling to a 3-1 defeat at the hands of LA Galaxy. Of their six warm-up matches overall, they have won just two and lost the other four - including penalty defeats.
Despite their poor form going in to the season, Juventus are still regarded as the team to beat in Serie A. They won the title at a canter last season and have imprived their squad during the summer too. The addition of Tevez, in particular, looks to be a very shrewd bit of business. The Argentinian admits that he was close to retiring from the game before Juventus came in for him, and at under £10m he looks to be a steal as there is no doubting his ability.
As for Lazio, they will be hoping to improve on what was a disappointing season for them in the league last time out. The cup success did go some way to papering over the cracks, but a seventh place finish - 26 points behind champions Juventus - points towards vast improvements needing to be made.
PREDICTION: With 10 minutes to go until kickoff, it is time for my match prediction! There was a big gulf between these two sides in the league last season, but Lazio's cup exploits showed that they can beat anyone on their day. Juventus will go into this one as favourites but their confidence may be shaken given their poor pre-season form. However, I still believe that they will have enough about them to win this one, and I am going to go for a 3-1 win to the Old Lady.
Tonight's match could well be considered something of a home tie for Lazio. It is being played in their own Stadio Olimpico, the first time that this fixture has been held here since 2001. It also marks a return to Italy after being played in Beijing for three of the last four seasons.
I've already mentioned that Juventus are the reigning Super Cup champions going in to this match, but Lazio also have some recent pedigree in the competition. They won it in 2009 and, overall, have three Super Cup successes to their name.
These two teams actually have direct history in this competition too. They met in the 1998 final and it was Lazio who came out on top on that occasion. Pavel Nedved and Alessandro del Piero were amongst the names on the scoresheet as Lazio ran out 2-1 winners after extra time.
Lazio striker Miroslav Klose
has scored against plenty of teams in his illustrious career, but never Juventus. He hopes to rectify that tonight, but he comes up against one of the fiercest defences around and one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time in Gianluigi Buffon.
As expected, there is a brilliant atmosphere in the stadium ahead of this one, with flares going off all over the place as we near kickoff.
KICKOFF: We're underway a little behind schedule as Lazio finally kick us off.
Even start for both sides as they feel each other out in the early stages. Both sides have made brief forays forward down the wings that have come to nothing.
SAVE! Buffon gets an early touch of the ball and it is a fairly comfortable one for him. Ledesma lets fly from the edge of the area and his effort swerves a little, but Buffon is behind it all the way and holds on to the ball.
Klose has a chance to break away for Lazio after a mix-up in midfield presents the German with only one defender to beat. Hernanes is busting a lung to get up in support, but Klose isn't blessed with great pace and the defence get back to crowd him out.
Pirlo has his first chance to demonstrate his supreme dead ball skills from a corner, but his delivery is well defended. Juventus get the ball back and work it out wide to Pirlo again and this time his delivery is even better, but once again Lazio get it clear.
Juventus have been called upon defensively a couple times already today, and Vidal has to be alert to get a vital touch to a deep free kick on this occasion. Lazio are certainly asking a few questions in what has been an even match so far.
The ball comes across to Biglia, who has dreams of a wonder goal on his debut. It would have to be some strike to beat Buffon from where he hits it, and it would also have to be on target, which it isn't. Instead, it goes flying well over the bar from the new boy.
Biglia shows a little more poise at the other end of the field as he calmly strokes the ball back to his keeper under heavy pressure from Juventus attackers. He did well there as the Juve players were swarming around him in the box, waiting for any kind of mistake.
Tevez goes down in a heap after a high foot from a Lazio defender, and Juventus now have a free kick around 35 yards from goal. This may just be out of range for Pirlo.
Indeed it is. The midfield maestro opts against the shot, instead clipping a ball into the box which Lazio once again deal with.
Marchisio is currently down receiving treatment after a collision while attempting to pull off a Zidane-like turn. Juventus don't currently posses any players of Zidane's quality, but they have become the dominant force in Italian football once again just like when the Frenchman was there.
Speaking of French midfielders, Paul Pogba
is coming on to the pitch earlier than he would have expected. Marchisio has not recovered from that knock and on comes the 20-year-old midfielder. Big things are expected of him, and he looked very good during France's successful Under-20 World Cup campaign this summer.
Tevez is receiving some close attention from the Lazio defenders. He is a scrappy player and won't be put off by the physical aspect of the Italian game.
GOAL! Juventus 1-0 Lazio (Paul Pogba)
I said a lot was expected of him, and he is already starting to deliver! Pirlo looks set to test the keeper with a free kick in a very good position, but instead he slides a clever pass to Lichtsteiner, who has been left unmarked on the right side of the box. He puts a low cross into the area which is deflected to Pogba, who drills the ball into the bottom corner on the turn. That is only his second touch since coming on as a sub!
That was a very well-worked free kick. Every Lazio player and fan assumed that Pirlo was going to go for goal, and with good reason as it was in a perfect position for him, but the move came straight off the training ground and really caught Lazio out.
Great football from Lazio, and Klose is heavily involved. The big striker held the ball up until the overlapping run of Candreva came. He played the ball to the winger before racing straight into the middle to try to get on the end of the resulting cross, only for Barzagli to nick it away off his toes.
YELLOW CARD! Hernanes picks up the first yellow card of the evening, and he can have absolutely no complaints. He scythed right through the back of Tevez and challenges like that are always going to result in bookings. Tevez has certainly been in the wars already tonight!
Italian football is, of course, renowned for the defensive strength shown by teams. Lazio may be getting the balance wrong at the moment with Tevez, though. It was a foul on him that gave away the free kick that ultimately provide the game's only goal so far.
SAVE! He may be getting on in years, but Buffon can still make spectacular saves! Radu goes for goal from a long way out and his shot is very well struck. It looks to be flying in the vicinity of the top corner until Buffon makes a diving one-handed stop that even Lazio keeper Marchetti applauds!
Radu lets fly from range again, and this one is equally as well hit but it isn't Buffon who makes the stop this time, it is the ref! That would have stung the official as the ball was really travelling!
It will be interesting to see how these teams manage in terms of fitness levels as this match progresses. Both have had a decent amount of games in pre-season, but competitive fixtures are a different kettle of fish altogether, and the heat is not helping them tonight!
Tevez has not been able to get into his stride in this one so far. He has received close attention from the defenders, but the rare occasions when the Argentinian has found a bit of space, he has generally overrun the ball and lost possession.
That's better from Tevez, though. He links up well with Vucinic, playing a one-two before driving towards goal. He just leaves the ball behind him but still manages to squeeze out a second one-two before his attempted back-heel is intercepted.
YELLOW CARD! Barzagli becomes the first Juventus man to enter the referee's notebook. The defender was penalised for a handball, but the card came because of his protests against the decision. The replays show that he had a point, though - the ball seemed to come off his stomach.
There will be two minutes of added time at the end of this first half.
That is not the best shot of Candreva's career, I'm sure. The winger gets in to a good area just outside the box, but his effort almost goes out of the stadium it is so high. Straight into the proverbial 'row Z'.
HALF TIME: Juventus 1-0 Lazio
So far so good for Juventus. They take a 1-0 lead into the break and they're looking reasonably comfortable with it. It was Paul Pogba who gave the Serie A champions the lead just a minute or so after coming on as a sub, but Andrea Pirlo
deserves credit for a very clever free kick that ultimately created the chance.
There was an element of luck about the goal in terms of how the ball ended up going to Pogba - via a deflected cross - but the Frenchman still had plenty to do as he shot on the turn. It wasn't the prettiest or hardest finish you will ever see, but it wasn't exactly a tap in either.
Other than the goal, it must be said that chances have been few and far between in this match. Lazio keeper Federico Marchetti
hasn't really had a save to make, with the most strenuous piece of work he has had to do probably being picking the ball out the back of his net.
Buffon hasn't been much busier either. The veteran keeper has made on save of note, flying to his left to keep out Radu's ferocious long-range drive, but other than that he has been pretty much a spectator for large periods of the match.
Despite the lack of chances and solitary goal, this hasn't been a poor match by any means. The heat and lack of full match fitness did start to slow the tempo down as the half wore on, but both sides will still believe that they can win this match after that first half. For Juventus, the job is easier as they simply have to defend. For Lazio, they will need to pose more of an attacking threat but, with the likes of Klose, Candreva and Hernanes in the side, they certainly have the ability to do just that.
Plenty of eyes would have been on Carlos Tevez today. He hasn't done too much on his competitive debut and will be hoping to be more involved in the second half. It may take him a while to get used to the close attention of Italian defenders - something of which he has experienced plenty of already this evening - but he is the type of player who will not shy away from such things. There was a glimpse of his talent when he and Vucinic linked up towards the end of the half, but we still haven't seen the best of the Argentinian today by any means.
The players are starting to filter out on to the field, and it must be said that none of them look particularly desperate to get back out there! They are all ambling back through the tunnel at a pedestrian pace and in a disjointed fashion.
KICKOFF: Juventus get us back underway in the second half. Can they hold out for a second consecutive Super Cup win or will Lazio come back in the next 45 minutes?
Vucinic has a little space to run in to down the left, and Pirlo finds him with a typically sweeping pass. Cavanda is racing to get back into position, but in his haste bundles into the back of Vucinic, conceding a free kick in a good crossing position.
Pirlo's delivery from that free kick is headed away by the Lazio defence, who have dealt with aerial balls into the box very well today. The only occasion they fell asleep from a set piece is the difference maker so far, however, as it led to the goal.
GOAL! Juventus 2-0 Lazio (Giorgio Chiellini)
What a superb counter attack from Juventus that was. A Lazio corner is cleared to Pirlo on the edge of the box, and he gives the ball to Vidal, who immediately releases Lichtsteiner down the right. The full-back won't be expecting to see his defensive partner Chiellini as the only man in the box when he looks up, but he does and finds him with a low pass that Chiellini sweeps past the keeper.
GOAL! Juventus 3-0 Lazio (Stephan Lichtsteiner)
Two goals in as many minutes from Juventus! Lichtsteiner turns from provider to finisher as he cuts right through the middle of the Lazio defence before poking the ball into the bottom right corner with the outside of his boot. Good finish, and the Juventus defenders are making a goalscoring names for themselves now!
GOAL! Juventus 4-0 Lazio (Carlos Tevez)
This is unbelievable! Juventus have just blown Lazio away with a goal glut at the start of this second half. It was a lovely move from Juventus to initially set up Lichtsteiner, who sees his curling effort well saved by Marchetti. Pogba looks destined to get his second of the game on the rebound, but the Lazio keeper is up quickly to deny the Frenchman with a fine double save. Pogba picks up the second rebound and lays it off to Tevez, however, and the Argentinian makes no mistake from close range. A goal on his debut, and this is starting to get embarrassing for Lazio.
CHANCE! Klose almost pulls one right back for Lazio, but Buffon is out quickly to smother his effort before the ball is hacked clear.
CHANCE! Vidal finds space down the middle for Juventus and almost takes the ball round Marchetti, but the keeper does well to force him away from goal before saving his shot.
A half chance for Juventus there as Tevez finds space inside the box to get on the end of a floated cross. He shapes up well for the volley, but blazes it well over the bar.
LAZIO SUBS: Lazio made a double change immediately after the fourth goal, by the way. They brought on Sergio Floccari and Ederson for Ledesma and Radu respectively. Let's see if they can stem the tide.
Phew! Well there is just a little bit of time to catch our breath now. I have no idea where that flurry of goals came from! We barely had a chance in the first half and suddenly we have three goals in five minutes!
Lazio coach Vladimir Petkovic is cutting a forlorn figure on the sidelines now. I'm sure he is as baffled as us. His side were perhaps second best in the first half but still very much in the game. Now, their priority might be to keep the score down. It just goes to show how dangerous Juventus can be when they hit top gear.
SAVE! Decent dipping effort from Candreva, but it is bread and butter stuff for a keeper of Buffon's quality. The ball bounces just before the Juve skipper so he opts to parry it, but it was never in danger of going in.
CHANCE! Oh, you would really expect Klose to bury those chances! He is one of the best strikers of the last decade or so when it comes to headers, and this one was the type he usually thrives upon. Candreva found him unmarked inside the box, but his flicked header went a few yards wide and over. I was expecting the net to ripple, but his duck against Juventus continues.
LAZIO SUB: Hernanes's evening is over as he makes way for Ogenyi Onazi. Petkovic may just be thinking about protecting his most important players now with this game as good as over.
CHANCE! Another massive chance for Klose to get a consolation goal for Lazio. The striker pounces on a mistake by Pirlo before showing a surprising turn of pace to take him away from two defenders. He only has Buffon to beat, but that is easier said than done and the keeper pulls off a good save. Klose really should have scored there, though.
JUVENTUS SUB: It is no surprise to see Barzagli withdrawn at this stage. He was a doubt to play in this one so to have lasted this long is good going. He is replaced by Martin Caceres.
CHANCE! Another chance for Lazio to pull one back! Pirlo makes another mistake and the ball eventually falls to Ederson on the edge of the box. The Brazilian stabs an effort goalwards, but Buffon is down quickly to save.
Lazio have certainly improved since that manic spell at the start of this half. Had they played like this the whole way through I highly doubt that they would find themselves 4-0 down. Having said that, their increasing number of chances could have something to do with Juventus taking their foot off the pedal.
JUVENTUS SUB: Lichtsteiner can be very happy with his performance this evening. He has scored one and set up another against his former club. He will play no further part, however, as he makes way for Angelo Ogbonna, who comes on for his debut having joined from city rivals Torino this summer.
Juventus are just playing keep ball at the moment and probably will continue to do so for the last five minutes. I think it is safe to say that this win will have eliminated any doubts brought up by their poor pre-season campaign.
Juventus will begin their title defence against Sampdoria next Saturday, while Lazio's season opener against Udinese could not come sooner enough for the club following this defeat. They will want to get it out of their minds as soon as possible.
While the rest of the team is keeping the ball well, Pirlo, of all people, has given it away quite a lot of times in the last few minutes! Very uncharacteristic of the Italian veteran.
FULL TIME: Juventus 4-0 Lazio
JUVENTUS WIN THE ITALIAN SUPER CUP!
The ref decides to end Lazio's misery nice and early by not adding on any time to this one. Juventus players and coaches celebrate winning the first trophy of the new season and their sixth Super Cup overall. In the end, it was a comfortable victory but it was really a five minute spell at the start of the second half, in which Juve scored five goals, that was the difference between the two sides.
The goals came courtesy of Paul Pogba, Giorgio Chiellini
, Stephan Lichtsteiner
and, on his debut, Carlos Tevez as Juventus blew Lazio away at the start of the second half. Lazio did respond well and had good chances of their own - most notably two Klose chances - but at 4-0 it was too late to mount any sort of serious challenge.
Right, that's it from me tonight. Thank you very much for joining Sports Mole
for what was an entertaining match between two of Italian football's giants. Congratulations to Juventus for winning the Super Cup, and commiserations to Lazio. I will leave you with Daniel Cross's match report
, and be sure to stick around for more reaction as and when it comes in. From me, though, it is goodnight!