Goals from Matthijs de Ligt and Dusan Vlahovic helped Juventus secure all three points in a come from behind win over Cagliari on Saturday.
Juventus saw any faint hope they had of challenging for the Scudetto vanish courtesy of a 1-0 defeat last week against Inter Milan. They put that defeat behind them with a fine come-from-behind 2-1 win away to Cagliari.
Massimiliano Allegri’s side have a fine record against the Italian minnows and the win only enhanced that last night. Cagliari surprisingly took the lead thanks to Joao Pedro in the second half before Matthijs de Ligt made it 1-1 in the 45th minute.
January addition Dusan Vlahovic scored the all-important winner in the 75th minute as Juventus strengthened their hold on the fourth spot. With just a handful of games to go, the Bianconeri cannot afford to have any more slip-ups.
The Turin giants were largely frustrated on the night thanks to Cagliari’s low block. But as we have seen numerous times this season they are capable of pulling a rabbit out of the hat and did just that. The three points could prove to be massive in the weeks to come. The Hard Tackle looks at how the Juventus players fared on the night.
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Wojciech Szczesny: 6/10
He had no hope of denying Pedro early on and was otherwise untested. The Polish goalkeeper had little chance of denying Pedro for Cagliari’s opener and cannot be faulted for it. Szczesny was otherwise solid on the night and was aided by the home side who were largely content with just sitting deep.
Danilo had a far from an easy night as Dalbert did his best to test the Juventus ace. But the Brazilian ace shifted tactics and did a better job of shackling his Cagliari counterpart as the game wore on. He enjoyed enough possession and also made forward forays where needed.
Matthijs de Ligt: 6/10
The Dutchman calmed Juventus down with a well-taken equaliser at the stroke of half-time. It was the standout moment of the night for the young Dutchman who had little to do defensively. De Ligt’s goal appeared to rejuvenate Juventus as they went into the break seeking a winner.
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Giorgio Chiellini: 6/10
The veteran was largely untested by the Cagliari attack that was content to play it safe after scoring the opener. He was not troubled for the majority of the night and was allowed to take his time when on the ball. Unfortunately for Chiellini, he just could not make the most of it.
Luca Pellegrini: 7/10
The left-back looked to have drawn Juventus level in the first half only for VAR to rather unfairly rule it out. Pellegrini did not let it get to him and made several good forays upfield on the left, causing Cagliari numerous problems. He also showed off his defensive acumen by keeping Raoul Bellanova quiet all night, especially in the closing stages as Juventus sought to see out the game.
Juan Cuadrado: 6/10
The veteran enjoyed a good run out and was a constant source of inspiration to the Juventus attack. He often fashioned chances out of nothing and crafted the cross that led to de Ligt’s equaliser.
Arthur Melo: 5/10
The game largely passed the Brazilian by, and he failed to impact it. He was poor in possession and did not inspire any forward forays. He also lost Pedro in the build-up to Cagliari’s opener and lacked impact for the majority of the game.
Denis Zakaria: 6/10
The Swiss international did not make as many forward forays as he would have liked and was largely limited to defensive actions. It was a largely controlled display from Zakaria who offered steel in the middle of the pitch for the visitors.
Adrien Rabiot: 5/10
The Frenchman has been in good form of late, but this was one of his forgettable performances. He failed to get going all night and was eventually replaced by Federico Bernardeschi.
Paulo Dybala: 6/10
The Argentine started the game poorly and struggled to make a telling impact. However, he got better as it went on and started to pull the strings in the attack. Dybala improved further after the break and made the telling difference by teeing up Vlahovic for the winning goal.
Dusan Vlahovic: 6/10
The Serbian striker has endured a frustrating few weeks where he could not find the back of the net as easily as he would have liked. While he still was not at his best, scoring the winner will certainly have boosted his confidence. He got lucky with his finishing, but it will do little to dent his morale.
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Federico Bernardeschi: 5/10
Bernardeschi replaced the disappointing Rabiot in the second half but offered little more than the Frenchman.
Moise Kean: 4.5/10
Kean replaced Dybala in the 81st minute but saw little action as Juventus sought to see out the game.
Leonardo Bonucci: N/A
The veteran defender was brought on for a tiring Cuadrado as Juventus looked to slow the tempo down and keep Cagliari at bay.