“Clinical and effective” were the words uttered by the commentator while summarising Juventus’ performance against a toothless Lazio side on Saturday evening.
Owing to the injuries to Paulo Dybala, Giorgio Chiellini, Mattia De Sciglio, and Federico Bernardeschi, Massimiliano Allegri was forced to make some changes to the starting XI. Among the said alterations, the introduction of Luca Pelligrini caught the eyes of Juventini.
While Juventus were seriously pragmatic against Lazio and could have been much more brutal offensively, both goals came from the mistakes made by the Biancocelesti defence. However, thanks to those spot-kicks, the fans could see Leonardo Bonucci’s precision from the spot.
The victory over the Romans means that Juventus have amassed 21 points from 13 games in Serie A. Their hope for the Scudetto might have gone far beyond their reach, but a finish inside the top-four to secure the Champions League football next season is still tangible.
That said, here are the three takeaways from a fantastic night for the Bianconeri in Rome.
3. Leonardo Bonucci won the match and the hearts
In the game of cricket when a captain scores a meaningful amount of runs, it is called a “captain’s innings”. It was a “captain’s innings” from the veteran Leonardo Bonucci against Lazio on Saturday evening at the Stadio Olimpico.
Allegri planned to begin the match with the 3-5-2 formation, with the trio of Danilo, Matthijs de Ligt, and Leonardo Bonucci covering the centre of Juve’s rearguard. However, an early injury to the Brazilian ruled him out for the rest of the game.
Kulusevski came onto the field and took the position of Juan Cuadrado, who had previously been playing as a right wing-back. Kulu’s intervention observed a swift change in structure for the Bianconeri, with the Old Lady now playing in a 4-5-1 formation.
After Danio’s withdrawal, Allegri’s pre-orchestrated ideas took a major hit. The boss needed Bonucci to show his raw ability. Staying on the pitch for the entirety of the game, the 34-year-old, hence, played an influential part for the visiting side.
Despite defending against a Ciro Immobile-less Lazio attack, the veteran Italian, per the stats from Sofascore, recorded four clearances. In terms of creation, he had 55 accurate passes from 59 attempts, two key passes, and six accurate long balls from eight attempts.
He appeared to be more useful when asked to take the responsibilities of the spot-kicks. On top of the goals, it was the manner of the taken spot kicks that inspired a glut of spectators out there — Pepe Reina had no chance to save any of those two shots. Two goals from two penalties marked a fine night at the office for Bianconeri’s “Capitano”.