Juventus opened 2022 with a 1-1 draw against a depleted Napoli side in Serie A on Thursday night.
The visitors made the trip to Turin despite their availability crisis and they produced a superb performance to earn a big point on the road. Juventus started brightly but it was Napoli who took the lead thanks to a fine Dries Mertens strike. The Neapolitans seized control towards the end of the first half with the half-time whistle arriving at an opportune time for the Bianconeri.
The returning Federico Chiesa marked his comeback by grabbing the equaliser ten minutes into the second half. The strike ignited the hosts, who relentlessly went in search for a second before quickly fading. Chances came few and far between in the closing stages, with Juventus forced to settle for a point.
Here are the Juve player ratings from Thursday night’s 1-1 draw with Napoli.
Goalkeeper & Defenders
Wojciech Szczesny (GK) – 6.5/10 – Szczesny perhaps could’ve done more to prevent Mertens from opening the scoring, and his fingertip denied Matthijs de Ligt from making a goal-line clearance. Otherwise, the Polish international made smart saves from long-range Napoli attempts before crucially denying Mertens after Juve had equalised.
Juan Cuadrado (RB) – 5.5/10 – A tricky night for the stand-in skipper. The Colombian struggled with his positioning throughout and he couldn’t get close to the ingenious Lorenzo Insigne.
Matthijs de Ligt (CB) – 8/10 – How good is he. I know I say it a lot, but he’s just so good. De Ligt was unfortunate on the goal, and that was the only minor blip in an otherwise imperious showing. He shut Mertens out when the Belgian sought to receive deep, with his challenges often perfectly timed, and he produced several crucial blocks to deny attempts on goal. The Dutchman always seems to be in the right place at the right time (he was for Mertens’ goal!) and that’s a testament to his ever-improving positioning.
Daniele Rugani (CB) – 8/10 – Whisper it, but how stout was Rugani alongside De Ligt on Thursday night? The Italian’s role was as basic as it gets for a centre-half, but he didn’t put a foot wrong. The defender made crucial blocks, stayed on his feet throughout and defended Juve’s box in a manner that would’ve made Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini proud. A pleasant surprise.
Alex Sandro (LB) – 4/10 – The Brazilian’s woes continued in the 2022 opener. He didn’t cover himself in glory for Napoli’s opener, and Matteo Politano outmanoeuvred him for much of the bout. Once again, Alex Sandro looked a step off the pace and he offered close to nothing in the attacking phase.