Juventus Secure Win Against Bologna to Continue Title Push

Juventus returned to Serie A action on Sunday afternoon playing host to Bologna looking to make ground on the top two Milan sides, both of whom dropped points Saturday night.

After their triumph in the Supercoppa against Napoli, Juventus manager Pirlo retained almost the same starting 11 with the only change being Federico Bernardeschi replacing fellow Italian Chiesa on the wing.

Dejan Kulusevski, who has provided the perfect foil for Cristiano Ronaldo in Pirlo’s 4-4-2, kept his place and experienced Italians Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini renewed their partnership at the heart of defence, while Matthijs de Ligt back from testing positive for Covid-19 took his spot on the bench. Argentine star Paulo Dybala continued to miss out through injury.

After last weeks big victory against Verona, Siniša Mihajlović looked to build off that by deploying largely the same 11 in their favored 4-2-3-1. The same front four were kept with Italian Riccardo Orsolini coming into some recent form, supporting the talented Musa Barrow. Nicolás Domínguez was dropped to the bench in favour of fellow midfielder Mattias Svanberg in the only change for the the Rossoblu.

Juventus began on the front foot and opened the scoring via a long range strike from Arthur Melo. The Brazilian picked up the ball about 30 yards out after an initial counter led by Bernardeschi, who carried the ball deep into Bologna’s half and fed Ronaldo on the left.

The Portuguese star cut inside and laid the ball into Arthur who picked his head up and fired in an ambitious low drive. As Danilo came across to block, the ball took a wicked deflection off his outstretched leg and nestled into the bottom right hand corner, completely deceiving goalkeeper Łukasz Skorupski.

Juventus nearly doubled their lead in the 27th minute. Lovely football from Juventus created the chance for Ronaldo, with Bonucci firing in a pass to McKennie who flicked it round the corner into Ronaldo’s path. The forward feinted then stepped over the ball, moving it to his left before firing goalward with the Polish keeper diving to his right to beat out the effort. He was then up quickly to block the rebounded effort from the Italian international Bernardeschi.

The second half started with the visitors on the front foot and were nearly gifted a way back into the match only to be denied by the brilliance of Szczęsny in goal. Midfielder Schouten made good head way down the right before firing in a wicked cross, which made it’s way to the back post where Cuadrado in trying to turn the ball over the bar to safety directed the effort at goal, forcing his goalkeeper to react quickly to push it back from point blank range.

The second goal of the game and for Juventus did arrive on the 70 minute mark through impressive American Weston McKennie. The midfielder had shone all game with his work rate and ball use and got on the end of of Cuadrado’s out swinging corner directing a header into the ground and into the bottom left hand corner. The goal took the wind out of Bologna’s sails and Juventus were able to comfortably see out the remaining minutes.

Juventus next host SPAL in the Quarter Finals of the Coppa Italia where Pirlo will look to rotate his options to rest some more of his star players before next Saturday’s league game away to Sampdoria.

The fixtures for Bologna meanwhile do not get easier as they travel to the San Siro to take on the league leaders Milan on Saturday.




January 24, 2021 – Serie A 2020-21 Round 19

SCORERS: 15′ Arthur, 71′ McKennie

JUVENTUS (4-4-2): Szczesny; Cuadrado, Bonucci (78′ De Ligt), Chiellini, Danilo; McKennie (92′ Demiral), Bentancur, Arthur (78′ Rabiot), Bernardeschi (68′ Morata); Kulusevski (78′ Ramsey), Cristiano Ronaldo (Pinsoglio, Buffon, Chiesa, Di Pardo, Dragusin, Frabotta, Fagioli) Coach: Pirlo
BOLOGNA (4-2-3-1): Skorupski; De Silvestri (46′ Soumaoro), Danilo, Tomiyasu, Dijks (77′ Palacio); Schouten, Svanberg (64′ Dominguez); Orsolini (77′ Skov Olsen), Soriano, Vignato (46′ Sansone); Barrow (Da Costa, Breza, Hickey, Paz, Poli, Baldursson) Coach: Mihajlovic

REFEREE: Mr. Sacchi from Macerata
NOTES: Yellow Cards: Kulusevski, Chiellini, Arthur (J), Vignato, Dijks (B)