Ronaldo and Dybala Reach Centuries as Juve Earn Vital Win at Sassuolo

At the Mapei stadium in Emilia-Romagna, Europa League hopefuls Sassuolo hosted a Juventus side that is trying to cling on to their slim remaining hopes of securing a Champions League spot.

The hosts were the better side in the first half, but the Bianconeri were just more clinical, and scored two goals via Adrien Rabiot and Cristiano Ronaldo. After the break, the Neroverdi tried to mount a comeback as Giacomo Raspadori pulled one back, but Paulo Dybala’s goal shattered their hopes, as it ended 3-1 for the giants from Turin.

Roberto De Zerbi opted for his usual 4-2-3-1 lineup, with the in-form Raspadori supported by captain Domenico Berardi, Hamed Junior Traoré and the exciting Jeremie Boga. Pedro Obiang and Manuel Locatelli took the double pivot roles.

On the other hand, the suffering Andrea Pirlo reconfirmed his 4-4-2 formation, but Dybala replaced Alvaro Morata as Ronaldo’s partner up-front. Federico Chiesa and Dejan Kulusevski started on the wings, with Arthur and Adrien Rabiot in central midfield. Gianluigi Buffon was given a starting berth in what is expected to be his last Serie A match for the Old Lady.

The hosts started strongly, threatening their visitors as early as the third minute. Berardi unleashed Jeremy Toljan who fed Traoré on the edge of the box, but his shot went high. Few minutes later, the Neroverdi captain cut from the right and went for goal himself, but Mimmo’s attempt also went above the goal.

In the 14th minute, Rabiot gifted the ball to Sassuolo, and Leonardo Bonucci tripped Raspadori inside the Juventus box. The referee immediately pointed to the spot but Buffon produced a heroic, denying Berardi’s penalty kick.

Although the hosts continued to dominate the match, Rabiot redeemed his earlier mistake by breaking the deadlock in favor of the Old Lady. The Frenchman was given just enough space by Obiang, and sent a low drive that stroke the far post before hitting the net.

Nonetheless, De Zerbi’s men continued to threaten the Bianconeri’s goal, but Boga’s curler went past the target, and Obiang’s thunderous effort was saved by the 43-old-old goalkeeper.

Before the end of the first half, a high ball reached Rabiot in the middle of pitch, and he directed his header towards Ronaldo. The Portuguese easily dribbled his way past Marlon and scored Juve’s second of the night – and his 100th for the club – with the simplest of finishes.

After the interval, Sassuolo managed to grab a goal, as Marlon brought the ball forward for Raspadori on the edge of the Juventus box. The young striker played a wonderful give-and-go with Locatelli, and made no mistake in front of goal, coolly putting the ball in the bottom corner.

The Emilians almost found the equalizer when Giorgio Kyriakopoulos sent a low cross towards the back post, but Alex Sandro made a timely interception right before the ball reached Berardi.

In the 66th minute, all hope was lost for the Neroverdi, as a swift counter attack from the Old Lady reached Kulusevski, and the young Swede found Dybala with a sublime through ball. Andrea Consigli left his goal to meet him, but the Argentine finished the chance with a cheeky lift.

With that goal, La Joya managed to reach his 100th goal for Juventus as well, and he almost added another, when he rounded Kyriakopoulos and unleashed a low drive from the edge of the box, but this time the Sassuolo shot-stopper managed to deny him.

Ronaldo then went close to earn a personal brace. The Portuguese’s fabulous skills left Vlad Chiriches on the ground, but his low shot went crashing on the post.

At the end of the day, Juve’s three goals earned them three crucial points, as they maintain some hope in reaching next season’s edition of the Champions League.



May 12, 2021 – Serie A 2020-21 Round 36

SCORERS: 28′ Rabiot (J), 45′ Cristiano Ronaldo (J), 59′ Raspadori (S), 66′ Dybala (J)

SASSUOLO (4-2-3-1): Consigli; Toljan (56′ Chiriches), Marlon, Ferrari, Kyriakopoulos (76′ Rogerio); Obiang (56′ M. Lopez), Locatelli; Berardi, Traoré (56′ Defrel), Boga (76′ Duricic); Raspadori (Pegolo, Ayhan, Caputo, Peluso, Muldur, Haraslin, Bourabia) Coach: De Zerbi
JUVENTUS (4-4-2): Buffon; Danilo, De Ligt, Bonucci, Alex Sandro; Kulusevski, Arthur (61′ Bentancur), Rabiot, Chiesa (81′ Cuadrado); Dybala (81′ McKennie), Cristiano Ronaldo (Szczesny, Pinsoglio, Chiellini, Demiral, Ramsey, Bernardeschi, Morata, Felix Correia) Coach: Pirlo

REFEREE: Mr. Chiffi from Padova
NOTES: Yellow Cards: Marlon (S), Danilo, Chiesa (J)