21 November 2020
Cristiano Ronaldo struck twice as Juve brushed aside Cagliari 2-0 with a thoroughly convincing display to build on their solid showing against Lazio before the international break
The Bianconeri played with purpose and pace from the off and Ronaldo's five-minute double gave them a two-goal lead they fully deserved heading into the break. The fact they were unable to add a third in the second period takes no shine off what was an utterly dominant performance.
JUVE START KNOCKING
Despite moving the ball around quickly and cleverly, steered by an excellent Arthur, Andrea Pirlo’s side struggled to find a way through Cagliari’s 5-4-1 formation initially as the Sardinians repeatedly cleared crosses or intercepted the final pass. The Bianconeri did manage to break through the visitors’ lines 10 minutes into the game when Federico Bernardeschi finished off Alvaro Morata’s pass but it was ruled out for a marginal offside call.
Juve kept on pushing, with Adrien Rabiot, Bernardeschi and Ronaldo all taking aim and Cagliari pegged back in their own half. The Bianconeri’s high pressing was working a treat and the chances kept on coming. Dejan Kuluveski was presented with a great opportunity and tried to place his shot but instead sent it just wide. Bernardeschi’s low drive from the edge of the box was then saved by Alessio Cragno.
All that pressure was bound to pay off sooner or later and it finally did in the 38th minute. A fine flowing move ended with Morata playing in Ronaldo, who skipped past two defenders before finishing into the corner for a fully deserved opener.
Juve were in no mood for sitting on their lead and Ronaldo in particular appeared especially hungry for more. Barely a minute after teeing up Kulusevski – whose shot flew wide – the Portuguese star was in the right place at the right time to turn Merih Demiral’s header into the net and give Juve a 2-0 lead at the break.
DEMIRAL HITS THE BAR
Cagliari needed to shake things up and the introduction of Ruccardo Sottil during the interval gave them a bit more spark.
However, it was Juve very nearly made it three when Demiral rose to meet Juan Cuadrado's corner, his header thundering off the bar.
Shortly afterwards, Bernardeschi latched onto the ball after Ronaldo's dummy only to find Cragno equal to his effort.
JUVE IN CRUISE CONTROL
The Bianconeri were in complete control by now and could afford to sit back and wait for Cagliari before looking to exploit the space on the break.
It seemed only a matter of time before they scored a third but a lack of precision was letting them down. Bernardeschi darted off down the left and picked out Morata in the box but the Spaniard's first-time effort flew just wide.
Pirlo made a string of changes towards the end – bringing on Weston McKennie and Paulo Dybala, then Rodrigo Bentancur, Federico Chiesa and Alex Sandro – and La Joya wasted little time in producing his trickery only to lift his finish over from a decent position.
There was to be no third goal but Juve ended the game in complete control. Gianluigi Buffon's jersey barely had a speck of dirt on it come the final whistle – demonstration of an impeccable displayed by the Old Lady.