Juventus vs Zenit 4-2: Dybala Masterclass Inspires Bianconeri

Juventus returned to winning ways as they beat Zenit 4-2 to qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League.

After back-to-back defeats against Sassuolo and Verona, Massimiliano Allegri’s men were eager to bounce back and they were on the attack from the very first kick of the ball. They opened the scoring in the 11th minute thanks to Paulo Dybala who had a goal coming after plenty of missed chances over the weekend.

Zenit got their equalizer after Leonardo Bonucci headed Oleksandr Karavayev’s cross into his own net. The Bianconeri kept troubling Zenit’s backline time and again, forcing a foul from them that led to a penalty.

Dybala initially shot wide but the spot-kick had to be retaken. The Argentine did not miss the second time. Juve got a few more goals later in the second half thanks to Federico Chiesa and Alvaro Morata. Zenit got a consolation through Sardar Azmoun but this was the Bianconeri’s game to lose.

They put in a truly dominant display but could have scored more than they did. Nonetheless, the team will be pleased with the result and can take a lot of motivation from it ahead of their upcoming Serie A fixtures.

Allegri made five changes to Juventus’ XI from their defeat to Verona, changing the entire midfield. Chiesa was back in the lineup, as was Federico Bernardeschi, with Manuel Locatelli partnering Weston McKennie in the middle of the park. In defense, Matthijs de Ligt replaced Giorgio Chiellini.

Zenit manager Sergei Semak fielded the same XI that thrashed Dynamo Moscow 4-1 last week. 

Juventus were off to a lively start and some good play from Paulo Dybala saw him create a good scoring opportunity for Bernardeschi. However, the former Fiorentina man’s shot was saved by Zenit goalkeeper Stanislav Kritsyuk. Dybala himself had a glorious chance to find the net but his shot hit the post.

The Argentine eventually got the goal he had been craving for some time now with his left-footed strike beating Kritsyuk. He continued to impress and set up a very good chance for Morata. However, the Spaniard’s shot was over the bar.

Zenit had an opportunity to level the scores but Andrei Mostovoy’s shot was wide, much to the relief of Wojciech Szczesny, whose misjudged pass played a role in the creation of the chance. The Russians eventually equalized after Bonucci headed Oleksandr Karavayev’s cross into his own net. Juventus thus conceded their first goal in the Champions League this season.

The Bianconeri were eager to restore the lead and had a very good chance to score when Locatelli’s pass found Chiesa. However, his header was saved by Kritsyuk. Morata found the net in the 36th minute but his goal was ruled out for offside.

The chances kept coming for Juve with McKennie nearly scoring in the third game on the trot but Kritsyuk was able to parry it away. The first half eventually ended 1-1.

The Bianconeri were full of energy in the second half with Dybala having an early shot on goal with his left foot, which was wide off the far post. Minutes later, Bernardeschi created a good chance for Morata but the Spaniard missed.

Dybala had another left-footed shot on goal, this time from distance, but it went straight towards the goalie. Juve were awarded a penalty after Chiesa was brought down by Claudinho. Up stepped Dybala and he shot wide. However, the spot-kick had to be retaken due to a couple of Zenit players entered the penalty area at the time of the shot.

This time, Dybala slotted the ball in the back of the net to score his and Juve’s second of the match. The 28-year-old had a chance to net a third but his shot was just wide off the near corner.

Sometime after the hour-mark, Zenit started attacking and a few decent chances to score with Szczesny forced to make a couple of key stops. 

McKennie had a glorious opportunity to score but his shot hit the crossbar. However, a few minutes later, Chiesa got around Dejan Lovren before slotting the ball past Kritsyuk to give Juventus a two-goal cushion. The 24-year-old thus scored in four successive Champions League matches for the Bianconeri, equaling a record set by David Trezeguet.

Chiesa nearly added a second but was denied due to a clearance from Dmitri Chistyakov. Juventus eventually got their fourth goal after Morata found the net following some brilliant and unselfish play from Dybala. Zenit tried to pull one back towards the end of the game and got their second goal thanks to Azmoun.

Juve thus confirmed their place in the last 16 of the Champions League with two matches to spare. Next up for them is a meeting against Fiorentina on Saturday.


November 2, 2021 – Champions League 2021-2022 Group H

SCORERS: 11′ Dybala (J), 26′ Bonucci (J, o.g.), 58′ Dybala (J, pen.), 73′ Chiesa (J), 82′ Morata (J), 92′ Azmoun (Z) 

JUVENTUS (4-4-2): Szczesny, Danilo, Bonucci (85′ Rugani), De Ligt, Sandro, Chiesa, McKennie, Locatelli (80′ Arthur), Bernardeschi (80′ Rabiot), Dybala (86′ Kulusevski), Morata (Chiellini, Cuadrado, Pinsoglio, Bentancur, Perin); Coach: Allegri
ZENIT ST. PETERSBURG (3-4-2-1): Kritsyuk, Lovren, Chistyakov, Rakitskiy (75′ Dzyuba), Sutormin, Barrios, Wendel (88′ Kuznetsov), Karavayev (59′ Malcom), Mostovoy (59′ Krugovoy), Claudinho (75′ Erokhin), Azmoun (Kerzhakov, Kravtsov, Byazrov, Khotulyov); Coach: Semak

REFEREE: Hernandez (Spain)
NOTES: Yellow Cards: Lovren (Z), Locatelli (J), Kulusevski (J); Added Time: 1st Half 0′, 2nd Half 3′