Juventus Wake Up in Second Half to Brush Spezia Aside

After last Saturday’s unexpected stalemate in Verona, Juventus came back to winning ways in the first game of Serie A Round 25 as they disposed of Spezia with three second half goals.

It was an overly severe punishment for Vincenzo Italiano’s side, who held the Bianconeri to a nil-nil draw for the whole first period but eventually collapsed when Andrea Pirlo’s substitutions supplied the Old Lady with new forces and enthusiasm.

Federico Bernardeschi was the underdog star of the night as he provided two assists for Alvaro Morata – who scored his first goal in 2021 – and Federico Chiesa, before Cristiano Ronaldo would wrap Juve’s win by tallying his 767th career goal (same as Pele).

But the game at the Allianz Stadium was anything but a stroll in the park for Pirlo, who lost defender Matthijs De Ligt right before kick off and was forced to hastily change his lineup plans: Due to his shortage of center backs, he had to adapt once again Alex Sandro in the role, deploying Gianluca Frabotta as a left-back.

It  toke more than 30 minutes for Juventus to show themselves around Ivan Provedel’s area. On the contrary, it was Spezia to come closer to draw first blood as defender Riccardo Marchizza failed to hit the target from a favorable position. Cristiano Ronaldo appeared isolated and not serviced by his offensive teammates, but still managed to give Spezia a scare with a soft right-foot effort that hit Provedel’s post right before half time.

On 61 minutes, Pirlo tried to shake things up with a double substitution that proved decisive: Off went Gianluca Frabotta and Weston McKennie, giving way to Federico Bernardeschi and Alvaro Morata. Such more offensive setup quickly bore fruits as Morata found the back of the next from his very first attempt, finely served by the former Fiorentina man.

Referee Juan Luca Sacchi initially disallowed the goal on grounds of offside, but stood corrected by the VAR.

Six minutes later, Federico Chiesa was quick to tap in from an Ivan Provedel save to double Juventus’ lead. Much of the credit went again to Bernardeschi, who served him a brilliant assist from a breakaway.

Cristiano Ronaldo couldn’t refrain from joining the party and, with just one minute to go, found the back of the net to collect his 20th Serie A goal this season – also reaching Brazilian legend Pele with 767 career goals.  

Spezia could have pulled one back into added time, but  Wojciech Szczesny grabbed his share of glory as he denied Andrey Galabinov from the penalty kick spot. It was three goals and three points for Juventus, who retained their spot in the table and regained some confidence after their dull performance from Saturday night.



March 2, 2021 – Serie A 2020-2021 Round 25

SCORERS: 62′ Morata, 71′ Chiesa, 89′ Cristiano Ronaldo

JUVENTUS (4-4-2): Szczesny; Danilo, Demiral, Alex Sandro, Frabotta (61′ Bernardeschi); Chiesa (72′ Ramsey), Bentancur, Rabiot, McKennie (61′ Morata); Kulusevski (88′ Di Pardo), Cristiano Ronaldo (Pinsoglio, Buffon, Dragusin, Fagioli, Peeters, Aké) Coach: Pirlo
SPEZIA (4-3-3): Provedel; Vignali, Terzi, Erlic, Marchizza (86′ Bastoni); Estévez, Sena (85′ Agoume), Maggiore (72′ Acampora); Farias (73′ Verde), Nzola (72′ Galabinov), Gyasi (Zoet, Ferrer, Chabot, Ismajli, Agudelo, Piccoli) Coach: Italiano

REFEREE: Mr. Sacchi from Macerata
NOTES: Yellow Cards: Frabotta (J); Extra Time: 1st Half 0′, 2nd Half 4′