Dejan Kulusevski’s late second-half cameo was needed to rescue a point for Juventus as they were once again held to a 1-1 draw, by Hellas Verona
Juventus’s dismal start under the leadership of Andrea Pirlo continued as they dropped two more points – this time against Hellas Verona, in a 1-1 draw at the Allianz Stadium.
There was no shortage of chances for the home side, who attempted 22 shots on goal, though most of them came in the second half. Yet, it was Ebrima Colley of Verona who broke the deadlock in the first half, only to be adjudged offside. Alvaro Morata experienced a similar fate when he found the back of the net with a delightful chip, with VAR ruling him offside at the stroke of half-time.
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In the second half, Andrea Favilli handed Verona a deserved lead with a ferocious left-footed effort. It gave his side the incentive to sit back and contain the pressure of the relentless Juventus attack. And while the method was working, it was the substitute Dejan Kulusevski who squandered their hopes by scoring the equaliser through a decent run on the left flank.
It ultimately helped him secure a point for his side, though that is far from what Pirlo had expected in this fixture. Here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over Juventus players in their disappointing performance over Verona on Sunday.
Wojciech Szczesny: 6.5/10
Wojciech Szczesny wasn’t particularly busy despite Verona’s attacking endeavours. That said, he still made one excellent save in the first half while he also looked confident in his punches and grabs. Unfortunately, the Pole was helpless in preventing Favilli’s lethal strike from finding the back of the net.
Merih Demiral: 7/10
Merih Demiral was a vital cog in the Juventus defence as his imposing physical and aerial presence was the club’s answer to the equally challenging stature of Nikola Kalinic. The Turk did his job responsibly, showcasing strength and leadership at the back. But, he lacked support from his defensive teammates.
Leonardo Bonucci: 6/10
Leonardo Bonucci was unusually active in Juventus’s forays down the opposition half, which turned out to be their wrongdoing as it put too much pressure on Demiral. It certainly wasn’t the best of games for the Italian, who later picked up a hamstring problem and had to subbed off in the second half. A big blow for Juventus.
Despite featuring at centre-back, Danilo’s primary job was to offer offensive support to the attackers and that is something he did remarkably well. The Brazilian was often a reliable passing outlet in the middle third and even in the final third of the pitch, providing a number of useful forward passes.
However, Danilo still needs time to adapt to his new role given how important it is for him to create a proper balance between his defensive and offensive endeavours. A great performance nonetheless.
Juan Cuadrado: 6.5/10
Juan Cuadrado was pretty active for Juventus on the right flank, especially in the first half. He provided the pass that led to Morata’s disallowed goal, though the Colombian is culpable for missing a great opportunity as his strike hit the post. His influence then dipped in the second half.
Aaron Ramsey: 7/10
Aaron Ramsey once again showed promising signs, creating a number of opportunities for Juventus using his clever sense of positioning and a remarkable link-up play with his teammates. His positioning sense, in particular, helped Juventus become more effective in the build-up play, although the Welshman’s influence did fade as the game progressed.
Arthur Melo: 6/10
Starting ahead of Rodrigo Bentancur, Arthur Melo anchored the midfield, as usual. He was Juventus’s main source of passing in that number six role, but the creativity was lacking from the Brazilian as most of his passes were non-progressive vertical passes.
Adrien Rabiot: 5/10
Adrien Rabiot struggled to impose his authority in this fixture as he was completely overwhelmed by the physical and hard-working nature of the Verona midfield. The Frenchman, thus, found it difficult to operate in the number eight, especially given the fact that he does lack mobility when compared to someone like Ramsey, who was more influential.
Federico Bernardeschi: 4/10
Federico Bernardeschi was by far the worst performer for Juventus in this fixture. Starting ahead of Kulusevski, the Italian was out of ideas going forward, often providing those stray passes in the final third. It was also he who virtually gifted Verona the opener with a sloppy pass in the middle of the park, effectively making way for Kulusevski.
Paulo Dybala: 7.5/10
In what was his first appearance in Serie A this season, Paulo Dybala offered Juventus a lot of creativity going forward. He was always a menace for the Verona defence, thanks to his quick feet and an ability to drift past opposing defenders with ease. The Argentine was unlucky not to find the back of the net as one of his efforts hit the post while most of them were blocked.
Alvaro Morata: 6.5/10
Alvaro Morata wasn’t spectacular against Verona, but his work-rate and willingness to find the back of the net was crucial, especially with Juventus missing out on the services of the mercurial Cristiano Ronaldo. Showcased his talent with a brilliant chip over the Verona ‘keeper but his goal was ruled offside by VAR, by the barest of margins.
Dejan Kulusevski: 8/10
Replaced the ineffective Bernardeschi around the hour-mark and showed Juventus what they were missing as the Swede offered spark on the flanks with his energy and determination. He was always probing the Verona defence and got rewarded for his effort as he helped his team secure a point late in the game.
Gianluca Frabotta: N/A
Replaced Bonucci during the final phase of the game and offered better balance, in terms of tactical shape in defence, especially with Danilo moving forward at every opportunity. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.
Giacomo Vrioni: N/A
A late replacement for Ramsey. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.