Juventus somehow salvaged the three points, thanks to the crucial header from Dejan Kulusevski.
With victory on Wednesday night, Juventus have all but secured qualification into the knock-out stage of the 2021/22 Champions League. Having garnered nine points from three games, the Bianconeri stand at the top of Group H.
The starting line-up didn’t have many surprises to offer. In the place of Danilo, Mattia De Sciglio started the game, with Weston McKennie, Matthijs de Ligt and Alvaro Morata all returning to Juve’s XI after starting on the bench against AS Roma at the weekend. Allegri gave Bonucci the opportunity to captain the side on Wednesday evening.
The first half ended in a stalemate. Neither Juventus nor Zenit seemed willing to break the deadlock. Federico Chiesa took quite a few shots, but none bothered the Zenit custodian during the span of the first 45 minutes of the game. In the second half, the scenario was not much better. Only Dejan Kulusevski, coming as a super-sub, changed the equation of the match.
Here are the Juventus player ratings from the Bianconeri’s hard-fought victory over a stubborn Zenit side.
(All the stats are taken from Whoscored.com)
Goalkeepers & Defenders
Wojciech Szczesny – 6/10 – One of the most inspiring players for Juventus in the first half was Wojciech Szczesny. The pole made a phenomenal save from a thumping Claudinho strike. He also attempted ten long balls, six of which were on target. Even though Zenit put immense pressure on the Juventus defence, the Pole didn’t have enough to do.
Mattia De Sciglio – 7/10 – Less adventurous offensively than the Brazilian playing on the other flank, De Sciglio was bright defensively. In the first half, the birthday boy made an eye-catching recovery to catch a galloping Artem Dzyuba. After Alex Sandro came off the field in the second half, De Sciglio occupied the left-back position, from where provided the assist for the goal with a right-footed inswinger.
Leonardo Bonucci – 8/10 – Captain for Juventus on Wednesday, Bonucci was gigantic while defending his own box. He was seen throwing his body in the line of fire, making tackles and interceptions. It is solely because of him Juventus enjoyed the third clean sheet in the third game of the Champions League this season.
Matthijs de Ligt – 7/10 – Matthijs de Ligt returned to the starting line-up after missing the game against AS Roma at the weekend. Against Zenit, the Dutchman partnered Bonucci, with the former winning three out of four ground duels and five out of seven aerial duels.
Alex Sandro – 5/10 – Only 58 minutes of football is what Alex Sandro enjoyed against a robust Zenit XI. If we’re being fair to the Brazilian, he was more offensively courageous than Mattia De Sciglio. He spent most of his time in the opposing half, completing three out of four long balls on the night. He also attempted one shot, which was far off target.