Juventus ended their winless streak by defeating Malmo 3-0 at the Swedbank Stadion in Sweden, in the UEFA Champions League opener on Tuesday.
Massimiliano Allegri clinched his first win since returning as the Juventus manager. The Turin giants went into the game on the back of a three-game winless streak in Serie A. The lack of confidence showed early on as Malmo started the game brightly. Alex Sandro. however, put the Old Ladt ahead in the 23rd minute. The Brazilian’s header was against the run of play and handed Juventus the initiative.
Sandro almost scored a second in the first half but saw his effort flash agonizingly wide. He need not have worried as Juventus went on to settle the game before half-time. Malmo star Lasse Nielsen brought down Alvaro Morata, winning the Bianconeri a penalty. Paulo Dybala stepped up and scored despite slipping to put Juventus two up. Morata scored soon after to make the score 3-0.
The game was decided in the first half, making the last 45 minutes a rather less intense affair. Both Dybala and Morata forced good saves from Ismael Diawara. Martin Olsson also saw a good effort saved by Wojciech Szczesny at the other end. The job was, however, done and Juventus saw out the game well.
The three points will hopefully give them the confidence needed to put on a run of wins that can help salvage their season. They next take on Italian giants AC Milan at home on 19 September. The game should give an idea if the Old Lady have indeed turned a corner this season. We take a look at how the Juventus players fared on the night.
— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) September 14, 2021
Wojciech Szczesny: 7/10
The Polish international has not enjoyed the best start to the season. He had little to do in Sweden but appeared to have an assured presence in goal. Szczesny was available whenever called upon and did his job with minimal fuss. More of the same will be expected of him going forward.
A solid yet unspectacular performance by the defender. Danilo excelled at both ends of the pitch and looked alert when called upon. Formed part of a back three when in possession and was calm and collected when required.
Leandro Bonucci: 6/10
The Italian veteran led his defence well and organised the backline against Malmo’s early onslaught. His experience showed and he read danger with astuteness on the night. Completely shut out Antonio Colak who barely had a sniff at goal.
Matthijs de Ligt: 6/10
The Dutchman has not quite evolved into the colossus he promised to be while at Ajax. He, however, looked on point here and stepped up when needed. Earned himself a yellow card for his troubles.
Alex Sandro: 7/10
The Brazilian scored against the run of play in the first half and almost doubled Juventus’s lead soon after but saw his effort go wide. Sandro was excellent going forward and was a menace to the Malmo defence all night.
Juan Cuadrado: 7/10
The Colombian was a constant menace down the right flank and often got in behind the Malmo defence. He played a key role in setting up Sandro’s opener that turned the tide of the game for his side. A standout performance by the veteran, who kept at it the whole night.
Rodrigo Bentancur: 5/10
The Uruguayan’s return to the starting lineup produced a mixed bag of results. Not his finest game, the midfielder was careless in possession and was far from his best. Provided an attacking outlet on the right but will need to step up his game in the weeks to come.
Manuel Locatelli: 8/10
The UEFA Euro 2020 hero made his debut in the competition on the night. His performance, however, demonstrated an understanding of the game that would classify him as a veteran. Juventus’s orchestrator in chief kept the ball moving and showed off his impressive distribution skills. Could have a big role to play for Allegri’s side this season.
Champions League Win 🤍🖤 pic.twitter.com/NkQSDySzCf
— Manuel Locatelli (@locamanuel73) September 14, 2021
Adrien Rabiot: 6/10
The Frenchman largely drifted into central areas leaving Sandro to exploit the flank. He was good in possession and was also able to make darting runs that penetrated the Malmo defence.
Paulo Dybala: 7/10
A mixed bag for the Argentine international, who started off unconvincingly. His first half penalty was a perfect embodiment of it. He got better as the game wore on and looked back to his best in the second half. With Cristiano Ronaldo no longer at the club, the 27-year-old has the perfect opportunity to become Juventus’s main man.
Alvaro Morata: 8/10
A player who can impress and frustrate in equal measure, Morata made a number of excellent runs behind the Malmo defence. He scored the Italian side’s third goal on the night and was up for the challenge. The Spaniard also defended from the front and contributed much defensively. Taken off with 20 minutes to go ahead of the weekend clash against AC Milan.
Alvaro Morata in the Champions League for Juventus:
◉ 29 games
◉ 14 goals
Another one for the Spaniard. pic.twitter.com/DCUiy6kuFl
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) September 14, 2021
Moise Kean: 6/10
Scored immediately after coming on but saw the goal being chalked off for offside. A good option to have off the bench.
Weston McKennie: 5/10
The youngster combined with Kean upon his introduction
Dejan Kulusevski: 6/10
A bright introduction for the Swede, who could be a major player for Juventus for years to come.
Aaron Ramsey: 5/10
The Welshman was far from his best and never got going. A performance that could have seen him punished against better opposition.
Daniele Rugani: N/A
Came on late to have a suitable impact.