Matthijs de Ligt once again produced a defensive masterclass as Juventus edged Fiorentina 1-0 in the Coppa Italia semi-final first leg.

Juventus gained a useful advantage in their Coppa Italia semi-final affair against Fiorentina, thanks to a 1-0 victory in the first leg at Stadio Artemio Franchi. The Bianconeri are heading into the second leg with a precious one away goal advantage, making them the undisputed favourite to go through to the final.

It was a typical Juventus performance as they had a very difficult time in possession. Boasting some serious talent upfront, it was Fiorentina who dominated the proceedings throughout the ninety minutes, constantly testing the mettle of the Juventus backline and offering very little respite.

To put things into perspective, La Viola attempted an eye-catching 22 shots on goal compared to Juventus’s six. They were able to create multiple attacking moments but were unable to find that killer pass in the final third. For a time, the Old Lady defence looked extremely solid and almost unbreakable.

The tremendous resistance from Massimiliano Allegri’s side paid off, though rather fortuitously, as Lorenzo Venuti scored an own goal in the final seconds of the game, giving the visitors a precious away goal advantage heading into this second leg. Here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over Juventus players in their lucky win over Fiorentina this midweek.

Mattia Perin: 7/10

Mattia Perin got his side into early trouble when he misplaced a pass during the build-up, giving the ball straight into the path of a Fiorentina forward. He fortunately got away as the shot was off target. Starting ahead of Wojciech Szczesny, the Juventus goalkeeper had to remain alert throughout the ninety minutes, but despite the intense pressure, he did not have to make any extraordinary save.

Danilo: 7.5/10

Danilo was asked to captain the Juventus side on the night, and the Brazilian did rather well. He remained solid on the right-hand side of the back three, offering very little space to the Fiorentina attackers. The defender was not too useful in possession, but the same can be said for almost any other Juventus player on the night.

Matthijs de Ligt: 8/10

Matthijs de Ligt deserves credit for yet another hard-working performance at the heart of the Juventus backline. He was an absolute rock in defence, making life difficult for Krzysztof Piątek and later, Arthur Cabral. His dogged defensive traits, coupled with his physical and aerial superiority, was the single biggest factor behind the Bianconeri’s resilience.

Mattia De Sciglio: 6/10

While Danilo did well to offer defensive support for de Ligt, Mattia De Sciglio had a difficult night dealing with the threat of Jonathan Ikone. The Italian was beaten way too easily at times, including the instance where Ikone was one-on-one with him and had almost scored after leaving the defender completely bamboozled.

Marley Ake: 5/10

Massimiliano Allegri’s experiment with the young Marley Ake at right wing-back did not bear fruit as the player struggled to offer anything meaningful. He even had difficulties keeping up with Riccardo Saponara and was hooked off at half-time.

Manuel Locatelli: 5/10

Manuel Locatelli was poor, to say the least. He was quite easily dominated by the Fiorentina midfielders, and most importantly, he offered nothing meaningful in possession, struggling to even get the ball out from defensive positions. Not the best of performances from the summer signing, who has endured an indifferent start to his life in Turin.

Arthur Melo: 6/10

Arthur Melo was another Juventus midfielder who struggled on the night. Especially in the defensive side of things, the former Barcelona man was far too incompetent to put any kind of pressure on the Fiorentina ball-carriers. He did make some useful lateral movements and was okay in possession.

Adrien Rabiot: 5.5/10

Adrien Rabiot offered the occasional moments of inspiration with his ability to carry the ball into the opposition half. But he did not receive much support and was largely overwhelmed by the efficient Fiorentina midfield three.

Luca Pellegrini: 7/10

Luca Pellegrini had a decent game, given how much pressure Fiorentina had exerted in the proceedings. He could have done a bit better at the start but grew into the game and looked solid defensively. He even produced a couple of useful forward balls, notably creating a chance for Vlahovic.

Dusan Vlahovic: 6/10

Dusan Vlahovic had a rather quiet game, which was understandable given Juventus’s lack of dominance in the proceedings. He had to remain alert and wait for that one key ball in behind the defence. Unfortunately, he was not able to make much of his only chance in the game, as he failed to properly chip the goalkeeper.

Moise Kean: 5/10

Moise Kean offered nothing to the table after starting alongside Vlahovic in the Juventus frontline. He was replaced by Alvaro Morata around the hour mark.

SUBSTITUTES

Juan Cuadrado: 6.5/10

Juan Cuadrado was much more involved than Marley Ake on the right hand side. He was able to make useful runs upfield but lacked the decision making. That said, he was responsible for the cross that led to Venuti’s own goal in the final minute.

Alvaro Morata: 5.5/10

Alvaro Morata had a mixed game after coming on for Kean around the hour mark. He lost balls way too easily, but he did have a bigger impact than the Italian.

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