Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 100th goal for Juventus, helping the Bianconeri seal a vital 3-1 win over Sassuolo this midweek.

Juventus remained in the fight for the Champions League places after securing a 3-1 win over Sassuolo on Wednesday. They were not helped by their rivals registering bigger wins, but the three points should help them maintain the pressure, with just two games remaining until the end of the campaign.

The Bianconeri, though, did not make the best of starts in this game as Leonardo Bonucci conceded an early penalty. The spot-kick from Domenico Berardi, however, was marvellously saved by Gianluigi Buffon. It provided confidence to the entire team, with Adrien Rabiot eventually finding the back of the net around the half-hour mark.

Cristiano Ronaldo doubled Juventus’s lead just before half-time, but Sassuolo dominated the majority of the second half. They even pulled one back through Giacomo Raspadori around the hour mark, but were unable to find the equaliser – thanks in part to some diligent defending from the outgoing champions.

Roberto De Zerbi’s men were further put off by Paulo Dybala’s strike in the 66th minute that restored his side’s two-goal cushion. And here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over these Juventus players in this vital win over Sassuolo this midweek.

Gianluigi Buffon: 7.5/10

Gianluigi Buffon arguably produced the most important moment of the game when he saved Domenico Berardi’s penalty to prevent Sassuolo from taking the lead. The veteran did not have to do too much afterwards but had to remain alert as the opponent dominated possession, trying to get back into the game.

Danilo: 6.5/10

Replacing Juan Cuadrado at right-back, Danilo mostly kept things quiet for Sassuolo, though the defender was indeed lacking precision in his game. Yet, he deserves credit for remaining solid on the right-hand side, despite all the pressure exerted by the opposition.

Matthijs de Ligt: 7/10

Matthijs de Ligt stepped up nicely in this must-win game for Juventus. Despite his age, the Dutchman marshalled the backline expertly, repelling the Sassuolo attacks and making a total of six clearances as well as winning three ground duels. His imposing presence at the back was critical in helping Juventus prevent the opposition from dealing bigger damage.

Leonardo Bonucci: 6/10

Leonardo Bonucci conceded the early penalty with a late challenge on Berardi. The veteran centre-back tried to remain defensively solid after that instance, using his experience to keep things neat and tidy. However, it was certainly not his day, as the early penalty did make him quite passive and it showed when Sassuolo scored their first goal around the hour mark.

Alex Sandro: 6.5/10

It was a decent display from Alex Sandro, who tried to influence the game with his forays down the flanks. He also looked relatively solid defensively, as Juventus were much more comfortable on the left-hand side of the defence. A welcome performance from the full-back, who has endured a rapid fall from grace this season.

Federico Chiesa: 6/10

It was perhaps not the best of performances from Federico Chiesa, who has been in top form throughout 2021. The former Fiorentina whizkid lacked enough involvement in the game, mostly getting isolated out wide. His performance did improve in the second half, but it was not enough to cause too many problems for the Sassuolo backline.

Adrien Rabiot: 7.5/10

Adrien Rabiot was culpable for losing the ball in a dangerous area that led to Sassuolo’s penalty. He was also way too passive for the goal around the hour mark. However, the Frenchman did produce a clinical effort on goal to find the all-important opener in the 28th minute. He tried to make amends with his overall involvement in the game as well, notably bagging the assist for Ronaldo’s goal.

Arthur: 5/10

Starting ahead of Rodrigo Bentancur, Arthur was introduced to offer more assurance in possession. Unfortunately for Juventus, the former Barcelona man struggled to control things in the middle of the park. He was, in fact, rather slow to deal with things, failing to outshine Manuel Locatelli in the second line of press.

Dejan Kulusevski: 6.5/10

Starting ahead of Federico Bernardeschi and Juan Cuadrado, Dejan Kulusevski produced a sumptuous ball forward to set up Paulo Dybala’s goal late in the game.  Apart from the goal, the Swede looked determined to create chances for his team but was not always involved in the game much as Juventus only managed to attain 35% of possession.

Cristiano Ronaldo: 7.5/10

Cristiano Ronaldo was once again the star player for Juventus, mesmerising the onlookers with his quick feet. Became the fastest Juventus player to score 100 goals when he found the back of the net just before half-time. The Portuguese international’s work-rate was phenomenal even during the late stages of the game and his presence in attack is indeed a blessing for the Bianconeri.

Paulo Dybala: 7/10

Paulo Dybala worked hard to make something happen for Juventus in the final third. In the end, Andrea Pirlo’s decision to not take him off around the hour mark paid off quite well, as the Argentine produced an excellent chip over Andrea Consigli to score his 100th goal for the Bianconeri. Certainly a class player on his day.

SUBSTITUTES

Rodrigo Bentancur: 6/10

Rodrigo Bentancur was brought in around the hour mark to replace the ineffective Arthur. Provided the additional energy in the middle of the park, but nothing extraordinary.

Juan Cuadrado: N/A

A late replacement for Chiesa. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.

Weston McKennie: N/A

A late replacement for Dybala. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.

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