Juve seal hard-fought win at Frosinone

Juve seal hard-fought win at Frosinone
Juve seal hard-fought win at Frosinone
Juve seal hard-fought win at Frosinone

Billed as a must-win match before kick-off, the Bianconeri edged a hard-fought 2-0 victory away to Frosinone on Sunday afternoon to stay hot on the heels of league leaders Napoli.

Juve enjoyed the better of the opening period, with Stefano Sturaro and Alvaro Morata both thwarted by impressive blocks from Nicola Leali between the sticks for Frosinone.

Knowing that dropping points on the day would have represented a setback in their title push, the Bianconeri increased their search for a winner after the interval, eventually breaking down the hosts’ stern resistance in the 73rd minute through Juan Cuadrado before Paulo Dybala added a second in stoppage time.

From the first whistle, Juventus looked to take the game to their hosts and might have edged in front as early as the fifth minute, when Alex Sandro whipped a wonderful cross into the box, but an onrushing Stefano Sturaro was not quite able to connect with the Brazilian’s delivery.

Having watched Claudio Marchisio’s effort from the edge of the box sail wide of his upright, Nicola Leali got down well to save Alvaro Morata’s shot from an acute angle.

On 13 minutes, however, Frosinone showed signs of their own attacking threat when Leonardo Blanchard’s chipped through ball found Daniel Ciofani in the box and the centre-forward’s half volley only just missed the target.

The Bianconeri would spend the majority of the half on the front foot, dominating 66.6 per cent of the ball, but struggled to break down a well-organised Ciociari rearguard. In the 33rd minute, Sturaro unleashed a venous drive from distance, forcing Leali into a smart save.

The 22-year-old stopper, on loan from Juventus, excelled yet again on the stroke of half-time to deny Morata from close-range, the Spaniard in full flow having slalomed his way past Adriano Russo.

The second period would follow a similar pattern to the first, as the visitors continued to press for what was proving to be an elusive opener, Leali once again standing tall to block Cuadrado’s left-footed strike on 51 minutes.

Then it was Paul Pogba’s turn to try his luck from the edge of the area, but Blanchard deflected his shot out for a corner, which they then defended with conviction.

Juve kept knocking on the door and Dybala quite literally on Leali’s far post after La Joya turned brilliantly before seeing his shot rebound off the upright on 72 minutes.

Just a minute later, however, the away support at the Stadio Matusa were finally able to celebrate their team taking the lead. Alex Sandro it was who sent a powerful delivery across the box and Cuadrado timed his run to perfection to bury coolly into the bottom corner.

Frosinone responded well to going behind, forcing Andrea Barzagli into a fine clearing header with Ciofani ready to meet Aleandro Rosi’s teasing cross at the far post.

That aside, Roberto Stellone’s charges never really looked like snatching a point, as they had managed in the previous encounter in September, and indeed it was the visitors who would put the win beyond doubt when, in the first minute of stoppage time, Morata played the ball into Dybala, who curled with power and precision into the roof of the net.

As Davide Massa blew for full-time, this hard-fought win took on even greater importance after news filtered through of Napoli’s 1-0 triumph over Carpi. The Partenopei will be the Bianconeri’s next opponents on Saturday evening at Juventus Stadium in what represents a crucial contest for deciding the destiny of this year’s Scudetto title.

Buffon; Barzagli, Barzagli, Chiellini (Rugani 77); Cuadrado, Sturaro (Pereyra 66), Marchisio, Pogba, Alex Sandro; Dybala, Morata (Favilli 90+3)
Unused substitutes: Neto, Rubinho, Rugani, Lichtsteiner, Padoin, Hernanes, Lemina
Coach: Allegri

Leali; Rosi, Russo, Blanchard, Crivello; Chibsah (Frara 72), Gori (Soddimo 81), Sammarco; Tonev, D. Ciofani (Longo 86), Dionisi
Unused substitutes: Bardi, Zappino, Pryyma, M. Ciofani, Gucher, Paganini, Pavlovic, Carlini
Coach: Stellone

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