After 80 minutes that were just an eyesore of a performance, Juventus took home an improbable W that provides a big lift in the Champions League thanks to a successful last-ditch effort powered by two goals of their star.
Cristiano Ronaldo (8 points): like most of the team, for about three-fourths of the match, his display was completely lackadaisical, if not borderline unacceptable. However, he came through in the end, earning a PK with a somewhat decent free-kick and more importantly five-holing the goalkeeper with the most accurate header where he did a lot of the heavy lifting with an impeccable move to get slightly open. His expertise and fierceness in the box manifested themselves at the most opportune time as the Bianconeri struggled mightily to come up with some credible offense in this one. Paulo Dybala was a ghost and constantly bottled up. Alvaro Morata provided a little jolt of the bench and conducted well a pair of counter-attacks.
Adrien Rabiot (2 points): he atoned for the silly mistake in Florence by coming in a substitute with the right attitude, ripping off a couple of his slow but hard to stop runs and eventually exploiting his technique with a high-arching cross that found Ronaldo on the far post for the game-winner. The two starting midfielders put a lot of effort in both phases but were mostly overwhelmed and outnumbers by the opponents. Rodrigo Bentancur had to cover a lot of ground and often seemed flustered by the huge task, while Weston McKennie is likely a little too wild to play in that position, although he had one of the very few chances to score before the final burst as he wiggled free on a corner kick, but he missed the target. Federico Bernardeschi brought very little to the table.
Alex Sandro: another occasion where the back-line did not struggle to keep up with the opposing attackers, which were not all that threatening, but still gave up a cheap goal due to a lapse in focus. This time it came on a quick free-kick that freed up a Nahuel Molina in the box. Alex Sandro was active and on point and made his presence felt multiple times with deep runs down the flank and sending in some juicy crosses. Matthijs De Ligt and Leonardo Bonucci held their own against a physical specimen like Stefano Okaka, who rarely bested them in their personal duels. Danilo was tidy as usual, while Juan Cuadrado was sloppier than in his most recent games and seemed all over the play at times.
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