Matthijs de Ligt scored a late winner as Juventus secured their first victory of the new season by beating Spezia 3-2.
Juventus secured their first win of the 2021/22 Serie A campaign after edging out Spezia 3-2 on Wednesday. The victory helped them move out of the relegation zone as Massimiliano Allegri’s men look to recover their form.
However, it was yet another disastrous performance from the Bianconeri, who once again lacked ideas in the final third despite doing their best to keep the opposition busy throughout the course of the ninety minutes. They notably attempted 26 shots on goal but only nine of them were on target.
Spezia, in response, launched attacks of their own, taking advantage of Juve’s vulnerability on the counter to cancel out Paulo Dybala’s 28th opener, as Emmanuel Gyasi scored an equaliser in the 33rd minute.
Quite spectacularly, the hosts took the lead early on in the second half through Janis Antiste, allowing Thiago Motta’s men the luxury to drop deep and see out the pressure. But the move backfired as Juventus started to create more chances and eventually scored the equaliser through Federico Chiesa around the 66th minute.
Shock! Two of Juventus’ best players – Chiesa and De Ligt saving them. It’s not a managerial issue at Juventus, Allegri is elite. It’s the clear lack of quality in the squad.
— TC (@totalcristiano) September 22, 2021
A few minutes later, the Bianconeri completed their comeback through Matthijs de Ligt, whose 72nd-minute strike was enough to seal all three points for his team. And here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over the Juventus players in their narrow win over Spezia this midweek.
Wojciech Szczesny: 6.5/10
Wojciech Szczesny had to remain quite alert all game as Spezia did threaten going forward. He was unlucky with the two goals conceded as both of them had slight deflection that changed the trajectory of the ball. He was solid otherwise, guarding the net well and preventing the third goal.
Danilo didn’t have much contribution in the game other than the poor and passive defending against Gyasi for Spezia’s equaliser in the first-half. Failed to provide any thrust going forward.
Leonardo Bonucci: 6.5/10
Leonardo Bonucci had a mixed game at the heart of the Juve backline. His lack of pace cost the second goal from Antiste while the ageing defender also missed a glorious second-half opportunity to score. But at the same time, Bonucci looked solid in his passing, though he certainly needs to improve in order to start ahead of Giorgio Chiellini.
Matthijs de Ligt: 8/10
Matthijs de Ligt was a far more secure defensive outlet for Juventus this afternoon. He was composed in defence and his pace was often an asset for a defensive unit that lacked such quality. Also scored the all-important winner with a neat finish during the final phase of the game, securing all three points of his team.
49': Spezia take a 2-1 lead over Juventus
66': Chiesa equalises
72': De Ligt gives them the lead! 💥
A manic second-half turnaround for Allegri's side! 🔄 pic.twitter.com/KnGtfSZhi4
— young journalist (@AbdullahNuriyya) September 22, 2021
Mattia De Sciglio: 4/10
Mattia De Sciglio endured a disastrous game at left-back, struggling to offer anything going forward while looking vulnerable defensively. He was taken off at half-time, with Allegri opting for Alex Sandro instead.
Federico Chiesa: 7.5/10
Our player to watch heading into this game, Federico Chiesa proved his mettle with a wonderful performance for Juventus. He was a constant threat for the Spezia defenders, thanks to direct runs out on the right-hand side. In addition to his pace and dynamism out wide, the young Italian attacker also showcased his determination to score the all-important equaliser for Juventus midway through the second half.
Weston McKennie: 6.5/10
Starting ahead of Manuel Locatelli, Weston McKennie made an early impression by providing the offensive thrust. But he failed to sustain his performance as the game progressed, though it was a decent shift nonetheless.
Rodrigo Bentancur: 5/10
Rodrigo Bentancur clearly did not have a great game against Spezia, often getting cut off in midfield. He simply didn’t manage to anchor the game well enough, and to Allegri’s credit, he spotted the problem quickly to sub him off at half-time.
Adrien Rabiot: 5.5/10
Adrien Rabiot’s aerial win was crucial in setting the ball up perfectly for Moise Kean for the opener. But that was the extent of his performance against Spezia, with the former PSG star lacking any sort of dynamism in his game. Subbed off midway through the second half.
Paulo Dybala: 7/10
Paulo Dybala was the leader of the Juventus attack and the main threat for the Spezia for a large portion of the game. He took the initiative to make things happen in the final third but he was unable to do so, with most of the Argentine’s efforts on goal failing to find the target. A good shift, nonetheless, from the attacker who is living up to his leadership role in the team.
— OptaPaolo 🏆 (@OptaPaolo) September 22, 2021
Moise Kean: 7/10
Moise Kean made an impression with the well-taken goal inside the half-hour mark. But his influence faded from thereon, though he continued to work hard for his team and was a target man in the final third before making way for Alvaro Morata in the second half.
Manuel Locatelli: 6.5/10
Manuel Locatelli made a crucial goal-line clearance to deny Spezia their third goal of the afternoon. By far his biggest contribution to the game after coming on for Bentancur at half-time.
Alex Sandro: 6/10
Alex Sandro provided more oomph going forward after replacing De Sciglio at half-time. Not enough to make a sizable impact on the proceedings, though.
Alvaro Morata: 6/10
Alvaro Morata became Juventus’ number one target man after replacing Kean around the hour mark.
Federico Bernardeschi: 6/10
Federico Bernardeschi added fresh legs to the Juventus attack during the final phase of the game.
Dejan Kulusevski: N/A
A late replacement for Chiesa. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.