Arturo Vidal scored twice as Juventus comfortably beat Cesena 3-0 on Wednesday to become the first team in Serie A history to win its opening four matches without conceding a goal.
Vidal converted a controversial penalty in the 18th minute. He then found the net from beyond the area in the 64th and Stephan Lichtsteiner added Juve’s third in the 85th after a counterattack.
A versatile midfielder, Vidal had right knee surgery in May and returned to play for Chile at the World Cup. But he has still taken time out to regain his fitness.
“Vidal came back after a long time out and even if he wasn’t at his best he was decisive,” Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri said.
While not exactly routing opponents, with seven goals in four matches, Juventus’ defense has been superb even without injured center back Andrea Barzagli.
The three-time defending Italian champion is also yet to concede in Europe, having opened its Champions League campaign with a 2-0 win over Malmo.
“I inherited a squad with great organization and the results have shown that,” said Allegri, who replaced Antonio Conte in July. “Football matches are won with solid organization and great players — not tactics.”
Roma also remained unbeaten after Miralem Pjanic scored with a free kick in the 88th for a 2-1 win at Parma. The Giallorossi conceded a goal for the first time this season and dropped behind Juventus on goal difference.
Paolo De Ceglie had equalized for Parma with a header in the 56th after Adem Ljajic gave Roma the lead in the 27th.
“All it took was a bit of genius from Pjanic,” Roma coach Rudi Garcia said.
Inter Milan, Sampdoria and Hellas Verona are each four points back.
Inter beat Atalanta 2-0 at the San Siro with an impressive acrobatic goal in the 45th from Pablo Osvaldo and a free kick that went in off the post from Hernanes in the 87th.
Osvaldo came on in the first half for Mauro Icardi, who limped off after a defender drove a knee into his right thigh.
Goals from Daniele Gastaldello and Alessio Romagnoli gave Sampdoria a 2-1 home win over Chievo Verona.
Verona also remained unbeaten after rallying at home from two goals down to draw 2-2 with Genoa.
Alessandro Matri scored twice for Genoa but Verona struck back with goals from Panagiotis Tachtsidis and Artur Ionita.
AC Milan, which drew 2-2 at promoted Empoli on Tuesday, is sixth, five points behind the leaders.
Napoli was held to a 3-3 draw at home by Palermo and is already eight points back after finishing third last season.
The pressure is mounting on Napoli manager Rafa Benitez, who has guided the southern club to just two wins in seven matches in all competitions this season.
Napoli failed to qualify for the Champions League after losing a playoff to Athletic Bilbao and has only produced one win in Serie A, with its other victory coming against Sparta Prague in the Europa League.
Elsewhere, Fiorentina was held 0-0 at home by Sassuolo and Torino scored its first goals of the season in a 2-1 win at Cagliari.
At the Juventus stadium, Juventus rested Carlos Tevez and Paul Pogba but still dominated from start to finish.
The Bianconeri took control when the referee ruled that Emmanuel Cascione voluntarily blocked a shot from Roberto Pereyra with his arm even though it appeared that the Cesena defender was trying to protect himself from getting hit in the face.
Cesena protested vehemently but the referee pointed to the penalty spot and Vidal scored with a poor shot that goalkeeper Nicola Leali could only get a weak hand on.
Fernando Llorente had a chance for Juve in the 34th after spinning around but shot just wide.
Vidal’s second came from outside the area and Lichsteiner then chipped in over Leali.
In Parma, Roma was without eight injured players, including key midfielder Daniele De Rossi and newly signed forward Juan Iturbe.
But it was captain Francesco Totti, who turns 38 this week, who set up Ljajic’s goal by leaving the Serbian forward with only the goalkeeper to beat.
Antonio Cassano threatened for Parma in the 54th and then De Sceglie rose above Roma’s defense to redirect in a corner.
The match appeared headed for a draw until Pjanic showed off his free-kick expertise by curling a shot over Parma’s wall that went in off the underside of the crossbar.
Roma visits Juventus on October 5.