Juventus
    05.11.2017 17:15 - in: Match report S

    Juve fight back to beat Benevento

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    Gonzalo Higuain and Juan Cuadrado score second-half goals as the Bianconeri come from behind to win 2-1 at Allianz Stadium

    Juventus celebrated its 120th anniversary with a victory as crucial as it was dramatic on Sunday afternoon at Allianz Stadium.

    Benevento became the first team this season to score the first goal in a Serie A game against Juventus – Amato Ciciretti stunning supporters with a precise free-kick to give the visitors an unlikely lead after 19 minutes.

    The Campania-based club frustrated the hosts for long spells with dogged defending and some inspired saves from keeper Alberto Brignoli, but Juve eventually drew level just before the hour-mark when in-form striker, Gonzalo Higuain, got his fourth goal in three games with a brilliant volley into the top corner.

    And the Bianconeri’s comeback was complete just nine minutes later after Juan Cuadrado headed home at the back post to secure a vital win in the context of this weekend’s results.

    Massimiliano Allegri’s men now move up to second place in the table: one point above Inter and one below leaders Napoli, after both of Juve’s main Scudetto rivals drew their respective matches today.

    BENEVENTO GET THEIR BREAK

    Backed by a capacity crowd at Allianz Stadium, the Bianconeri made a positive start to the match, with Daniele Rugani heading over from a corner and Douglas Costa’s dangerous cross ricocheting off the post via Brignoli’s gloves, who would be a very busy man on the day.

    Brazilian winger Costa then came even closer to opening the scoring after unleashing a left-footed drive off the underside of the crossbar and out.

    It was therefore completely against the run of play when Benevento took their lead: Ciciretti stood up to take a free-kick awarded for a foul by Alex Sandro and the visitors’ captain convincingly struck into the bottom corner, leaving Wojciech Szczesny helpless.

    BIANCONERI RACK UP ATTACKS

    The hosts’ response to going a goal down was a positive one, with Cuadrado twice having Benevento hearts in mouths. The Colombian’s first strike was deflected over the bar; the second he blazed over when well placed to do better.

    Paulo Dybala too got a shot away inside the area, bringing a smart save out of Brignoli in the process, and moments later La Joya was left wondering how he had not struck the equaliser when firing wide from 10 yards out following Higuain’s neat knockdown.

    The Bianconeri ended up having a total of 15 shots during the first half at a rate of one every three minutes, but Benevento had converted their only attempt on goal and took the 1-0 advantage into the interval.

    PIPITA PULLS ONE BACK

    At the start of the second period, the hosts immediately showed their intent for a turnaround, when Dybala won a free-kick in dangerous territory, which Higuain curled narrowly wide.

    By the 57th minute however, Pipita was celebrating a superb equaliser: Blaise Matuidi’s knockdown fell invitingly into the forward’s path, who struck an exquisite first-time volley into the top corner.

    After hitting a brace in Milan last Saturday and the leveller in Lisbon on Tuesday, this has been a week to remember for the Argentine, who also picked up the MVP for October award ahead of kick-off.

    CUADRADO COMPLETES TURNAROUND

    Juve now had the bit between their teeth and were determined to cash in on their superiority: Higuain nearly scored his second of the match when following up on Cuadrado’s shot, forcing Brignoli into a smart double save. Then moments later, Matuidi headed over from close range. The hosts were banging on the door more than ever before.

    And in the 66th minute, they got their lead when Alex Sandro’s searching cross from the left located an unmarked Cuadrado at the back post and the Colombian made no mistake with his header, sparking ecstatic celebrations from all corners of the Allianz Stadium crowd.

    Benevento had more than played their part in the contest and made sure of keeping the deficit to just one goal right up until the final whistle, Brignoli capping off a fine display with a last-minute block on Rodrigo Bentancur’s right-footed drive.

    Allegri and company will resume their league season after November’s impending international break with a trip to Sampdoria on 19 November.

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