Juventus and Cristiano Ronaldo Bulldoze Cagliari to Answer Criticism

Juventus’ reaction to their shocking Champions League elimination on Tuesday was furious and Cagliari stood no chance today. The Bianconeri brushed the Sardinians aside with a Cristiano Ronaldo hat trick, the Portuguese answering loud and clear to those who had criticized him after Tuesday’s setback.

CR7 thus moved to 23 goals at the top of the Serie A top scorers table distancing Romelu Lukaku by four – though many would argue that Ronaldo should have been sent off after scoring the first, consequence of a vicious tackle on Cagliari’s goalkeeper Alessio Cragno. 

The Islanders tried a reaction in the second half but couldn’t go beyond a Giovanni Simeone goal that made their defeat a little less bitter. For their new coach Leonardo Semplici, this is the first loss after collecting seven points out of nine in the previous three games.

No harm done anyway, as it is not necessarily against Juventus that Cagliari was meant to gain the points they need to stay clear of the drop zone.

For the match at the Sardegna Area, Andrea Pirlo came up with yet another different lineup. This time, he placed Danilo in midfield next to Adrien Rabiot, with Dejan Kulusevski and Federico Chiesa acting as wing-backs. The back four consisted of Juan Cuadrado, Matthijs De Ligt, Giorgio Chiellini and Alex Sandro. On the front line, CR7’s partner was Alvaro Morata.

For Cagliari, Leonardo Semplici resorted to hi classing 3-5-2 with Joao Pedro and Giovanni Simeone spearheading the attack.

The first half was a Cristiano Ronaldo monologue. The Portuguese, perhaps annoyed at the criticism he received after his colorless performance against Porto and at the multiple rumors who place him away from Turin soon, scored three goals in the space of 30 minutes to get the game done and dusted.

On 10 minutes, from a Juan Cuadrado corner kick, he anticipated Nahitan Nandez to serve the specialty of the house – a powerful header for which Cragno had no answer. His battle with the Cagliari goalkeeper continued, but Ronaldo went a little too far as the next time the pair met, he planted his foot on the goalie’s face, receiving a yellow card in return. Perhaps another player would have not gotten away with that. 

Juventus had their second on 25 minutes, when Morata on the counter released Ronaldo and Cragno had no other option than knocking him down to stop him. From the penalty spot, CR7 made no mistake and made it two for Juve.

Seven minutes later, Federico Chiesa served Cristiano Ronaldo and easy chance to seal his hat trick. The Portuguese took full advantage of it with a sharp left foot shot. It was a slaughter, and Juventus could even had made it four before half time, had not been for Cragno’s timely exit to deny the Genius of Madeira.

The only bad news for Andrea Pirlo was seeing Alex Sandro raising a white flag due to a muscle injury. The Brazilian won’t be available for the next game against Benevento.

Around the hour mark, Cagliari managed to pull one back as Giovanni Simeone scored his first goal since October. El Cholito received a pass from Gabriele Zappa and found the right spot into Wojciech Szczesny’s goal.

But, other than that, Juventus’ Polish goalkeeper had not much to do for the rest of the day as Juventus wrapped a comfortable win to preserve their third spot in the table and put some pressure on second-placed Milan, who will face Napoli tonight. After their shocking Champions League elimination, that was the least the Bianconeri could do, but their answer was loud and clear.



March 14, 2021 – Serie A 2020-2021 Round 27

SCORERS: 10′ Cristiano Ronaldo (J), 25′ Cristiano Ronaldo (J, pen.), 32′ Cristiano Ronaldo (J), 61′ Simeone (C)

CAGLIARI (3-5-2): Cragno; Ceppitelli (70′ Klavan), Godin, Rugani (80′ Pereiro); Nandez, Nainggolan, Duncan (80′ Deiola), Marin, Zappa (70′ Asamoah); Simeone (80′ Cerri), Joao Pedro (Aresti, Vicario, Calabresi, Carboni, Tripaldelli, Walukiewicz, Contini) Coach: Semplici
JUVENTUS (4-4-2): Szczesny; Cuadrado (82′ Frabotta), De Ligt, Chiellini (70′ Bonucci), Alex Sandro (34′ Bernardeschi); Chiesa (82′ Arthur), Danilo, Rabiot, Kulusevski; Morata (70′ McKennie), Cristiano Ronaldo (Pinsoglio, Garofani, Di Pardo, Dragusin, Fagioli) Coach: Pirlo

REFEREE: Mr. Calvarese from Teramo
NOTES: Yellow Cards: Cristiano Ronaldo, Cuadrado (J); Extra Time: 1st Half 4′, 2nd Half 4′