Federico Chiesa starred as Juventus secured an important victory over Napoli on Wednesday in a game that saw Paulo Dybala score the winner.
Juventus moved ahead of Atalanta in third place of the Serie A league table, following an important 2-1 victory over Napoli on Wednesday. It was a rescheduled game at the Allianz Stadium that hosted a key fixture in the context of this season’s race for the Champions League places.
Desperate to prove a point, Juventus looked determined right from the start, often looking to penetrate the Napoli defence with the forays down the final third. They created some early opportunities as well, with Cristiano Ronaldo missing one glaring chance before eventually finding the opener in the 13th minute.
The early flurry from Juventus, however, waned after the goal as Napoli strengthened their defensive core. It led to the hosts mustering only one shot on target throughout the rest of the game, while Napoli themselves ventured forward more often.
The Partenopei, though, lacked the end product in their creative play as Juventus doubled their lead in the 73rd minute through Paulo Dybala. The visitors did manage to find the back of the net in the 90th minute as Lorenzo Insigne converted a penalty, but it was too little too late for Gennaro Gattuso’s men.
Here, at The Hard Tackle, we will take a look at how the players from these sides performed in Juventus’ narrow win over Napoli this midweek.
Gianluigi Buffon: 6.5/10
Buffon did not particularly have a busy game, but he had to remain sharp as Napoli threatened more often than not. Could not save the penalty at the last minute.
Danilo did not enjoy the best of games in the right-back position. He offered support but was very vulnerable in the build-up play. Certainly needs to improve his technical quality.
Matthijs de Ligt: 7.5/10
A steady game for Matthijs de Ligt, who remained strong at the back and prevented the Napoli attackers from making any inroads. Slowly finding his feet in Turin.
Giorgio Chiellini: 7/10
Giorgio Chiellini’s experience was vital in helping Juventus keep Napoli at bay. However, the veteran centre-back exerted unnecessary pressure on Victor Osimhen at the death to concede a needless penalty.
4 – Giorgio #Chiellini will play his 528 game with #Juventus tonight, equalling Giuseppe #Furino at 4th place amongst the players with the most appearances with the Bianconeri in all competitions. Pillar.#JuventusNapoli pic.twitter.com/mKA0bQ9wYh
— OptaPaolo (@OptaPaolo) April 7, 2021
Alex Sandro: 7/10
Alex Sandro improved a lot from his performance against Torino on the weekend. He looked comfortable in possession while offering the offensive support.
Juan Cuadrado: 7/10
Juan Cuadrado was a threat to the Napoli backline due to his marauding presence on the right flank. Could have used a bit more efficiency and composure in front of goal, though.
Adrien Rabiot: 6.5/10
Adrien Rabiot returned to the Juventus midfield against Napoli, offering the usual stability in the middle of the park. Nothing extraordinary from the Frenchman.
Rodrigo Bentancur: 7/10
Rodrigo Bentancur produced a decent display at the base of Juventus’ 4-4-2. He looked intent while also offering some useful forward passes, helping the Bianconeri in transition.
Federico Chiesa: 8/10
Federico Chiesa was Juventus’ best performer against Napoli. He was all over the pitch, offering excellent creative support from the flanks and most notably creating two early chances for Ronaldo, one of which led to the opener. He is evidently becoming an asset for Andrea Pirlo.
— Juve News Page (@JuveNewsPage) April 7, 2021
Alvaro Morata: 6/10
Alvaro Morata once again offered very little to the table for the hosts. He was quiet for the most part, and aside from some hold-up play, it was an ineffective performance in front of goal.
Cristiano Ronaldo: 7.5/10
Cristiano Ronaldo missed an absolute sitter early on in the game but made amends with a classic finish to find the opener in the 13th minute. His influence waned as the game progressed, but the Portuguese sensation undeniably had an impact on the proceedings.
Cristiano Ronaldo has now scored at least 25 league goals in 12 different seasons 😤 pic.twitter.com/bxydAID466
— B/R Football (@brfootball) April 7, 2021
Paulo Dybala: 7.5/10
Paulo Dybala was given a rare opportunity to impress as he came on for Morata in the second half. He did not disappoint either, unleashing an accurate finish that turned out to be the winner. With Morata struggling, it will be interesting to see whether this performance helps him gain more starts in the coming matches.
Weston McKennie: 6.5/10
Became the second-youngest American to muster 100 competitive appearances in European football. Offered energy in midfield.
A late replacement for Chiesa. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.
Alex Meret: 6/10
Alex Meret could not have done anything to save Ronaldo and Dybala’s accurate strikes. Had a quiet game otherwise as Juventus failed to attempt any other shot on target.
Giovanni Di Lorenzo: 6.5/10
Giovanni Di Lorenzo struggled at times in dealing with Juventus’ wide players, especially during the first phase of the game. Had a more stable second half, but ineffective nonetheless.
Amir Rrahmani: 5/10
Amir Rrahmani was surprisingly given the nod ahead of Kostas Manolas, but the move did not pay off as the Albanian struggled to contain the pressure from Ronaldo early on.
Kalidou Koulibaly: 6.5/10
Kalidou Koulibaly looked more solid than his defensive partner, but took unnecessary risks, especially with his rash challenges. An early yellow card saw him walking on a tightrope.
Elseid Hysaj: 4/10
Elseid Hysaj had absolutely no answer to deal with Chiesa in the early parts of the game. It was an incompetent display from the Albanian full-back whose fall from grace continues.
Will require more than a 2v1 of Hysaj and Insigne to bottle Chiesa in these situations.
Just a brilliant dribble and delivery into the box. Ronaldo with a cool finish.
— Inconvenient Truth (@ITruth98) April 7, 2021
Fabian Ruiz: 6/10
Fabian Ruiz could not offer much in possession, often looking predictable in his passing, movements and distribution. Hooked off in the final minute.
Diego Demme: 6/10
Diego Demme was simply not involved in the game enough to help Napoli spark any sort of comeback. He was lacking creativity even in possession, in what was a poor display in midfield.
Hirving Lozano: 5/10
Hirving Lozano had problems in fully utilising his pace and dynamism on the flanks to trouble the Juve defence. He was eventually subbed off ten minutes into the second half.
Piotr Zielinski: 5.5/10
Piotr Zielinski was recalled into the side to offer some creativity going forward. The Pole was barely involved in the game as he continues his awful record in important matches.
Lorenzo Insigne: 7/10
Lorenzo Insigne probed the Juventus defence at times and was the most dangerous attacker for Napoli. He simply lacked support from his teammates, though he did manage to get on to the scoresheet late in the game.
Dries Mertens: 6/10
Starting ahead of Victor Osimhen, Dries Mertens was completely isolated by the Juventus defenders before he was eventually taken off in the 76th minute.
Matteo Politano: 6/10
Matteo Politano replaced the ineffective Lozano ten minutes into the second half. Tried to offer the creativity but could never really trouble Juventus.
Victor Osimhen: 6.5/10
Osimhen offered more pace and physicality in the number nine position after replacing Demme, notably winning the penalty. He should really become the club’s first-choice striker.
Eljif Elmas: 6/10
Eljif Elmas replaced Mertens during the final phase of the game to add more stability in midfield.
Mario Rui: 6/10
Replaced the awful Hysaj in the 76th minute. Should have started the game in the first place.
Andrea Petagna: N/A
A late replacement for Ruiz. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.