Juventus managed to sweep away the danger of Lazio with a comfortable 2-0 scoreline at home, thanks to a thunderous opening goal from Miralem Pjanic.
Juventus did not have the best of times at home against Lazio. But, the Italian giants managed to get over the line. The game started with Lazio going toe-to-toe with Juventus. But, it was Juventus who came the closest as Sami Khedira hit the sidebar from close range.
Juventus were soon rewarded for their phase of dominance, with Miralem Pjanic getting on top of a loose ball and thundering the ball with his right foot into the back of the net. Giorgio Chiellini almost gave away the equalizer in the second half but Juventus held on somehow.
A brilliant Cristiano Ronaldo effort was parried away by Thomas Strakosha before a fine run from Joao Cancelo saw Ronaldo fluff his lines from the six-yard box. But, Mario Mandzukic was there to add the second and provide Juventus with some breathing room.
We take a look at how the individuals performed for Juventus.
Wojiech Szczesny – 7
It is not an easy task to replace Gianluigi Buffon after the innumerable years the Italian veteran has been the first-choice for Juventus. But, Szczesny seems to be handling it like a world-class played and a seasoned individual. An early first-half save from Senad Lulic’s driven shot to his right set up the tone for the rest of the game.
Szczesny was tidy throughout and would be happy to record his first clean sheet of the 2018-19 season.
Joao Cancelo – 7.5
With Mattia De Sciglio out injured, Joao Cancelo seem to be making sure Massimiliano Allegri will find it tough to bench him once the Italian returns to action. Defensively solid, it is his penchant to make darting runs while going forward which is proving to be an asset for Juventus.
Was the driving force behind the second goal, crossing the ball perfectly for Ronaldo to finish. While Ronaldo did not score, Mandzukic managed to put the ball into the back of the net. The Portuguese striker might have received the assist for the goal but even he would be aware that, if not for his mistake, it would have been a deserving assist for his compatriot.
Leonardo Bonucci – 7
The more assured of the two centre-backs, Bonucci never actually did anything special. People say one of the best attributes for a defender is if he was hardly spotted by the onlookers on the ball but still managed to keep his third secured. Bonucci did exactly that, working well.
However, we are yet to see the free will passing maestro emerge from the shadows.
Giorgio Chiellini – 5.5
Almost gave away the equalizer as he chose to venture forward by himself losing the ball to Lazio. Luis Alberto’s shot was not on target, which would be a relief for the veteran. Dribbling forward is not one of his strengths and it is strange to see him being afforded more freedom by the manager compared to his partner Bonucci, who is the technically dominant of the two centre-backs.
Alex Sandro – 6
The Brazilian was bang average on Saturday. Not doing anything especially noteworthy, positively or otherwise. Was dispossessed twice but also had two complete dribbles. Just bang average.
Sami Khedira – 6.5
I don’t know about others. But, it is so unbelievably satisfying to see Khedira venturing forward continuously. Khedira should have opened the scoring as the ball fell to him inside the box. The German only managed to hit the sidebar. But, overall, Khedira should be pleased with his performance.
Miralem Pjanic – 8
Arguably the best player on the pitch for Juventus, Pjanic took his volley well and was always on the pry for loose balls in the middle of the park. Brilliant performance to follow the announcement of a new long-term deal to prolong his stay at Juventus.
Blaise Matuidi – 7.5
Another silent customer, Matuidi was the tidiest midfielder in the match. Swept away any danger while never losing the ball carelessly. The 4-3-3 looks dangerous and Matuidi should be a fixed name in the starting eleven, at least for majority of the matches.
Federico Bernardeschi – 7.5
Held the ball for the lowest amount of time among the 22 starters but had 3 attempts at the Lazio goal. Was value for time whenever he was given the ball and would have been disappointed to be substituted at the hour mark.
Mario Mandzukic – 7.5
An opportunist in the truest sense, it was his presence that confirmed Juventus had a second goal, despite Ronaldo fluffing his lines. Was dominant in the air throughout the match. Playing his way into the eleven, with Dybala being made to sit out for the game.
Cristiano Ronaldo – 7
Was always in the thick of things but still looks a fair distance away from being at his sharpest. Was always trying things though and should be given credit for the same. His brilliant turn and shot was dripping in, only for Strakosha to tip it above the goal. Almost got the goal, only for him to get over the ball and miss. The goal will come, inevitably.
Douglas Costa – 6.5
The Brazilian came on at the hour mark for Federico Bernardeschi and was instantly in the scheme of things. Had more of the ball in 30 minutes or so than Bernardeschi managed during his time on the pitch. A good outing that may see him push Bernardeschi back to the bench.
Emre Can – 6
Emre Can came on for Miralem Pjanic and while he was not as enterprising as the Bosnian, the former Liverpool midfielder made sure Juventus held on to their lead. Made 3 tackles and gave a good account of his abilities.
Rodrigo Bentancur – N/A
Was brought on to replace Sami Khedira late on in the game, mostly to bring a pair of fresh new legs into the midfield.