Juventus picked up a crucial three points on Saturday night as they beat Cagliari 2-1 in Sardinia amid yet another gritty performance.
The Bianconeri were a far cry from their aggressive and proactive selves in last weekend’s Derby d’Italia, as Joao Pedro’s early opener meant that Massimiliano Allegri’s side were forced to come from behind.
And while Juve were pretty flat for the most part, they were able to turn it around thanks to goals from Matthijs de Ligt and Dusan Vlahovic. The win eased any fears of Juve potentially being dragged into a dogfight with AS Roma for a top-four spot as they stretched their advantage over the Giallorossi to eight points ahead of their game against Salernitana.
3 takeaways from Juventus’ 2-1 win over Cagliari
Here are three takeaways from Juventus’ 2-1 win against Cagliari in Serie A on Saturday night.
Vlahovic & Dybala combine
Dusan Vlahovic’s Juventus career was ignited by a delicate Paulo Dybala pass in behind. Latching onto La Joya’s perfectly weighted ball, the big-money arrival had no choice but to score on his Bianconeri debut.
The sequence, many believed, was the first of many destructive combinations between Juve’s two leading attacking protagonists. But, Juve’s decision regarding Dybala’s contract means that their relationship will have minimal time to blossom before the Argentine departs in the summer.
On Saturday, both had endured frustrating outings. Dybala started the contest as if he’d never played the sport before, and it was he who lost possession before Cagliari scored the opener, while Vlahovic, starved of sufficient service once more, was often outdueled by Matteo Lovato when the ball eventually found his feet.
But as Cagliari’s defensive block deepened and Juve began to sustain pressure, the quality of the pair quickly manifested. Juve assistant Marco Landucci reportedly told Allegri, who was ready to introduce Moise Kean, to keep Dybala on the pitch due to his increasing influence after the restart and this delay paid dividends. With 15 minutes to go and Juve once again floundering against a low block, Dybala received possession between the lines before sliding Vlahovic in behind.
The Serb had finally been gifted the opportunity to attack space as opposed to perpetually playing with his back to goal and he made the most of a rare sniff at Alessio Cragno’s goal. The finish was certainly fortuitous, but the 22-year-old will not give a damn! It was a goal he desperately needed.
The pair then shared a warm embrace amid the celebrations, with a relieved Vlahovic intent on enjoying every moment he has with the olive-skinned, low sock-donning playmaker. What could’ve been, eh?
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