Juventus kept their Serie A title hopes alive as they beat Spezia 3-0 at the Allianz Stadium on Tuesday night.

Spezia started the first half brightly as they did not let Juventus take control of the game early on with their intense high press. It was the visitors that had the first chance of the game, after a good counter-attack started by the run of M’bala Nzola, who set up Giulio Maggiore, but his shot was deflected over for a corner. Spezia continued to apply pressure on the Bianconeri’s defence.

Juventus slowly started getting into the game but struggled to create a clear opportunity until the 42nd minute, when Cristiano Ronaldo hit the post after a swift move by Dejan Kulusevski. Seconds after the restart Weston Mckennie latched on to an erred back pass by Luca Vignali, but he failed to find a teammate.

Juventus looked more threatening in the second half and their consistent pressure finally paid off when substitutes, Federico Bernardeschi and Alvaro Morata combined to score the opening goal of the game. It was a brilliant substitution by Andrea Pirlo as Bernardeschi created another goalscoring opportunity for Federico Chiesa to net the second goal of the game for Juventus.

Cristiano Ronaldo almost scored in the 77th minute with a well taken free-kick, but it was smartly saved by Ivan Provedel. Ronaldo did get another opportunity in the 88th minute from a quick counter attack started by Rodrigo Bentancur. The Uruguayan won the ball in his own half and found the Portuguese international, who slotted it past Provedel to score the third.

A great result for the Bianconeri in their fight for the title defence. Let us take a look at how Andrea Pirlo’s men fared.

Wojciech Szczesney:  7/10

Showed calmness in his distribution even when under pressure. Rarely troubled all evening. Made a brilliant save from a penalty in the 94th minute to keep a clean sheet

Danilo: 7/10

Overlapped Chiesa and provided an outlet on the right side of the Juventus attack but lacked the final ball. Had a great game defensively as he did not let Farias and Gyasi get any joy on his side.

Merih Demiral: 7/10

A solid performance from the centre half as he did not let the Spezia attackers have any sniff on goal. Distributed the ball well from the back. Only blip on his game was the penalty he gave away in the 94th minute, but Andrey Galabinov failed to convert the resulting penalty.

Alex Sandro: 7/10

Did not let Nzola dominate him physically, as he won most of the duels against the striker in the first half. Continued with the same gusto in the second half, winning most of the headers in his box from opposition crosses. Strong performance in an unfamilar centre-back role for the Brazilian.

Gianluca Frabotta: 5.5/10

A last minute change saw Frabotta being included in the lineup in place of Matthijs De Ligt. Got forward well but struggled to beat Vignali. Subbed off for Bernardeschi in the 60th minute.

Federico Chiesa: 7.5/10

Linked well with Dejan Kulusevski on the right-hand side and constantly found himself in acres of space but could not make the most of it. Was in the right place to score the second goal of the match from Bernardeschi’s cross. Replaced by Aaron Ramsey in the 66th minute.

Rodrigo Bentancur: 8/10

Struggled to get control of the ball early on, but sprayed the ball well from midfield to his wide players. Covered the space left by Danilo really well. Won possession very often in his own half, created the third goal of the game with a perfectly timed tackle and carried the ball into the Spezia half to find Ronaldo, who scored past Provedel with ease.

Adrien Rabiot:  6/10

Was sloppy in possession as he gave the ball away thrice in the opening 30 minutes, while his passing was poor. However, he improved in the second half as Juventus took control of the proceedings.

Weston Mckennie: 5/10

Tried to make things happen in the first half but was closed down quickly by the Spezia players. Rarely got into the game. Subbed by goalscorer Alvaro Morata in the 60th minute

Dejan Kulusevski: 6.5/10

Ran behind Spezia’s defence well and looked threatening. But, Kulusevski failed to create any clear opportunities for his team-mates. Subbed off in the 88th minute for Di Pardo.

Cristiano Ronaldo:  7.5/10

His short passing was poor early on and he did not receive a lot service from his team. Got his first opportunity of the game in the 42nd minute but his shot agonizingly hit the post. His free-kick in the second half stung the palms of the Speia goalkeeper. Scored the third goal of the game with a well placed finish.

SUBSTITUTES

Federico Bernardeschi: 9/10

Superb performance after coming on for Frabotta in the 60th minute; changed the game completely for his team with two wonderful assists within minutes. Looked threatening every time he got on the ball.

Alvaro Morata: 7.5/10

Subbed in for Mckennie in the 60th minute. Showed his quality by moving swiftly to get at the end of Bernardeschi’s cross to score the opening goal of the game.

Aaron Ramsey:  7/10

Came on for Chiesa in 72nd minute, Nice cameo from the Welshman as he had some neat touches and was at the centre of most of the second half attacks.

Alessandro Di Pardo: N/A

Came on for Kulusevski in the 88th minute. Barely had a touch of the ball.

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