A late deflected Dusan Vlahovic strike sent Juventus into the semi-finals of the Coppa Italia after the Bianconeri had been frustrated by an incredible goalkeeping performance from Gianluca Pegolo.
Juve struck early through Paulo Dybala but Sassuolo immediately took control of the contest and started to pepper Mattia Perin’s goal. The Italian held firm before a superb strike from Hamed Traore deservedly brought the Neroverdi level.
A stale Juventus were rejuvenated by Max Allegri’s switch to a 4-3-3 on the hour as Alvaro Morata and Manuel Locatelli were introduced. The Bianconeri were in the ascendancy from that moment on but a resolute Pegolo kept the hosts at bay. That was until Vlahovic broke through down the left and had his errant effort on goal deflected beyond the Sassuolo’s imperious goalkeeper with three minutes remaining.
Vlahovic’s strike has set up a two-legged affair against his former club, Fiorentina, in the Coppa Italia semi-finals.
Here are our Juventus player ratings from Thursday’s hard-fought victory over Sassuolo
Goalkeeper & Defenders
Mattia Perin (GK) – 6.5/10 – There was nothing Perin could do to deny Traore’s super effort from hitting the back of the net and he’d made a few big saves to deny Sassuolo from equalising earlier. He was less active in the second period as Juventus wrestled back control, but this was another impressive display, overall.
Mattia De Sciglio (RB) – 5.5/10 – A quiet outing for De Sciglio. The Italian often tucked in when Juve had the ball to allow Alex Sandro to advance which meant forward ventures of his own were rare.
Leonardo Bonucci (CB) – 4.5/10 – Bonucci was rusty on his return. He was far too loose in possession and his sloppiness almost cost Juve on a couple of occasions. Defensively, he was sound for the most part but he looked a little off the pace.
Matthijs de Ligt (CB) – 6/10 – De Ligt got so frustrated by the inefficiency of Juve’s attackers that he sought to take matters into his own hands before they grabbed the eventual winner. The Dutchman’s forays into the final third were quite something and he’d ought to have scored from the second phase of a free-kick.
Alex Sandro (LB) – 4/10 – He got high and wide, offered himself in behind and created a couple of chances in the opening period with crosses from the left. I’ve seen Alex Sandro play worse this season, that’s for sure, but he was still poor in this one.