Serie A holders Juventus maintained their six-point lead at the top of the league after they defeated Cagliari 3-1 at the Allianz Stadium.
Paulo Dybala opened the scoring for the hosts in the first minute but João Pedro’s clinical strike drew the Sardinian outfit level in the 36th minute, only for Filip Bradarić’s own goal to restore Juve’s lead two minutes later.
Substitute Juan Cuadrado added a third three minutes from time to seal the victory following a swift counter-attack, ensuring La Vecchia Signora maintained their unbeaten start to the season.
Key Talking Point
The hosts didn’t take long to get going and opened the scoring within the first minute, following an error from the visitors, which eventually allowed Dybala (who was captaining the side) to fire home with his weaker foot.
Although they started in the ascendancy, the Bianconeri didn’t maintain their dominance and sat back, which invited pressure from the Rossoblu, who equalised after a cross was deflected into the path of Pedro, who found the net.
Douglas Costa was a real threat in the first period. His pace and trickery was no match for the visiting side, who couldn’t get near to him and it proved to be their undoing. The Brazilian was allowed space to send a dangerous delivery into the penalty area for the unfortunate Bradarić to put into his own net.
The home side continued to press in search of another goal, but their slow rhythm of passing made it difficult for them to get the better of the Sardinian outfit, who got men behind the ball and closed down the space.
When Juventus broke with pace, their opponents couldn’t catch them, which was demonstrated in their third goal, which stemmed from a Cagliari corner. Dybala fed Cristiano Ronaldo, who laid it on a plate for substitute Cuadrado, who slotted home and sealed the win.
Starting XI: Szczęsny (6); Cancelo (5), Bonucci (5), Benatia (5), De Sciglio (5); Bentancur (6), Pjanić (6), Matuidi (6); Dybala (8*), Ronaldo (7), Costa (7).
Substitutes: Barzagli (N/A), Alex Sandro (N/A), Cuadrado (7).
STAR MAN – Dybala started the scoring on the night for Juventus. He took his goal well, cutting inside and then shifting the ball onto his weaker right foot before firing home, despite losing his footing.
He linked up well with his front line teammates and although he was quieter in the second half, he was involved in the Bianconeri’s third of the night, finding a delightful pass for Ronaldo, who teed up Cuadrado to find the net.
WORST PLAYER – Cancelo was considerably below his usual best tonight. He usually marauds forward and offers himself as an option down the right flank, but that was a rare sight over the course of the 90 minutes. He misplaced several passes and his touch let him down on a few occasions in the game. It was such a dismal performance.
Key Talking Point
The away side were sloppy in possession and got off to a disappointing start. A loose pass in the early stages from Fabio Pisacane cost them, with Juve countering and eventually taking the lead through Dybala.
However having gone behind, they responded well and got into some promising positions. They utilised the space out wide with Darijo Srna producing some teasing deliveries that caused several problems, most notably when his cross was helped on into the path of Pedro, who fired home.
After going level, the visitors lost their focus and their lapse in concentration allowed Costa to get to the byline and produce a delivery that Bradarić turned into his own net, which put La Vecchia Signora back in front.
The Rossoblu tried their best in the second period but couldn’t muster as many opportunities as they did in the first 45 minutes, with the number of crosses sent into the area restricted by the hosts. They did cause the home side a few anxious moments, but in looking for their second leveller, they left themselves exposed on the counter, and Juve capitalised.
Starting XI: Cragno (6); Srna (7*), Pisacane (6), Ceppitelli (6), Padoin (6); Ioniță (5), Bradarić (5), Barella (6); Castro (5); Pedro (7), Pavoletti (5).
Substitutes: Cigarini (5), Faragò (5), Sau (N/A)
STAR MAN – Srna was a constant threat out wide for the visitors. He offered himself on several occasions and gave De Sciglio a horrid time in defence. He created numerous opportunities thanks to some terrific crosses, which caused several problems for Juventus, most notably with Pedro’s goal, but also prior to the strike, when he found Leonardo Pavoletti, whose strike was denied by the heroics of Szczęsny.
WORST PLAYER – Bradarić had an awful first half. He couldn’t get close to his opponents and had to resort to fouling his opposition in a way to retrieve possession. He picked up a booking for a cynical foul on Bentancur, which despite preventing a counter attack, left him on a tightrope for the rest of the game.
He didn’t demonstrate his spatial awareness in the match, which was evident when he scored an own goal to put his opponents in front. He was then very lucky not to have conceded a penalty for an obvious hand ball, which should have been given and could have seen him receive a second booking and sent off. He played just ten minutes of the second half before he was substituted.
Juventus host Manchester United at the Allianz Stadium on Wednesday in the Champions League, before a trip to San Siro to face Milan on the weekend.
Next up for Cagliari is a trip to SPAL, who have lost their last three meetings against the Sardinian side.