Birthday boy Leandro Bonucci was the hero for Juventus as they saw off Venezia in a game that was closer than anticipated.

It was a birthday to remember for Italian veteran Leandro Bonucci, who scored twice on Sunday to lead Juventus to a 2-1 win over Venezia.

The Bianconeri were quick out of the traps and attempted to seize the initiative early on. They struck the bar and, also had a penalty appeal waved away before Bonucci put them ahead in the seventh minute.

Despite being rock bottom in Serie A, Venezia put up a good fight in what was caretaker manager Andrea Soncin’s first game in charge. They clearly had opportunities but failed to punish Juventus for their lethargy at times.

The home side were content to sit back and let Venezia have the ball. It came to bite them in the 71st minute when Mattia Aramu stunned the Allianz Stadium to draw the visitors’ level. This was his first Serie A goal since scoring in the reverse fixture last December.

Any hope Venezia had of ending their eight-game losing streak was undone mere minutes later when Bonucci once again found the back of the net. Massimiliano Allegri immediately brought in Giorgio Chiellini to shore up the backline and help his side see out the game.

Juventus have now all but secured a top-four finish, while Venezia look set for the drop. For now, The Hard Tackle looks at how the Juventus players fared on the night.

Wojciech Szczesny: 6/10

The Polish goalkeeper was at hand to deny Aramu twice in the game. It proved third time lucky for the Venezia attacker as Szczesny was finally beaten in the second half. He had little to do otherwise and was largely assured when called on.

Danilo: 6/10

Danilo was part of a back three on the night and looked uncomfortable at times. Danilo, to his credit, did not do much wrong and was open to bringing the ball out from the back and kickstart attacks.

Leandro Bonucci: 8/10

If goals were birthday candles, the 35-year-old took his Juventus goal tally to 35 on the night. The veteran was largely calm and assured and stepped up when his side needed him. Securing all three points on the night has more or less assured the Bianconeri of a top-four finish.

Matthijs de Ligt: 6/10

The Dutchman showed off his aggressive side as he made a few crunching tackles on Sunday. He largely controlled his aggression and did not let it get out of hand. De Ligt also played a role in setting up Bonucci’s opener in the first half.

Federico Bernardeschi: 4/10

The Italian winger did not look up for the game and appeared to have his attacking wings clipped. While he did not do much wrong, there was little good to write home about. Bernardeschi did not last long and was pulled before the hour mark as Juventus looked content to sit back.

Denis Zakaria: 4/10

The Swiss international earned himself an unnecessary caution with a clattering challenge on Pietro Ceccaroni. Whether it was the risk of getting sent off or otherwise, Zakaria was poor on Sunday and put in arguably his worst performance since joining the club in January.

Fabio Miretti: 7/10

The 18-year-old made a surprise debut in Serie A and, in all honesty, gave a decent showing of his talents. He took some time to get accustomed to the pace of the game but got settled in well and was always raring to collect the ball and create openings for the players up the field.

Adrien Rabiot: 6/10

A mixed night for the Frenchman whose athleticism was very useful in Juventus’s efforts to keep Venezia at bay. He was solid if unspectacular and could be considered guilty of making a few lazy passes.

Luca Pellegrini: 5/10

Pellegrini was unlucky to not score on the night as his sweetly struck shot came off the crossbar. Venezia did cause him some problems and thankfully for Juventus, Pellegrini dealt with most of them with some difficulty.

Dusan Vlahovic: 4/10

A poor outing from the Serbian ace who looked jaded. He did not enjoy much joy up front and was not presented with any clear cut chances either. It came as little surprise when Allegri hooked him for Chiellini in the second half as Juventus decided to shut up shop.

Alvaro Morata: 5/10

The Spaniard never quite got into the groove and spent most of his time on the pitch in transition. He could have done with a clearly defined role where he did not have to yo-yo between the midfield and the attack.

SUBSTITUTES

Alex Sandro: 5/10

Sandro’s standout moment in the game was earning himself an early booking. He appeared subdued following that and managed to extract little influence on either side of the pitch.

Paulo Dybala: 5/10

The Argentine was poor on Sunday and did little of note after replacing Bernardeschi before the hour mark.

Moise Kean: 6/10

He showed some good movement but failed to fashion anything significant.

Giorgio Chiellini: 6/10

The veteran was brought on to protect the lead and he did just that.

Arthur: 6/10

He replaced Miretti in the 79th minute to add more steel to the Juventus midfield. He did his job with minimal fuss.

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