24 January 2021
Andrea Pirlo’s Juventus side scored once in each half to see off a spirited Bologna performance at Allianz Stadium on Sunday lunchtime.
Arthur set Juve on their way with a deflected goal after 15 minutes, but Bologna came back strongly and ensured the home side had to wait until halfway through the second half for their second goal, scored by the excellent Weston McKennie.
Pirlo’s men could well have been out of side long before that, but what they lacked in front of goal they more than made up for in terms of freshness and fitness, with the entire side working tirelessly from start to finish.
ARTHUR PUTS US AHEAD
Juve started the game well, moving the ball around the pitch with ease as Bologna hunkered down in their own half, showing plenty of physicality in the tackle. Dejan Kulusevski twice found Weston McKennie in the area in the opening stages, but the American was unable to find the target on either occasion. Bologna’s gameplan was clearly to play on the break, taking advantage of the pace of Musa Barrow, who was always ready and willing to attack the space. The visitors created one good chance through Roberto Soriano just before the 15-minute mark, but Emanual Vignato failed to capitalise on the former’s ball into the box. That proved to be a costly error, as seconds later Juventus were ahead. Arthur picked up the ball around 20 yards out, took aim and unleashed an effort towards goal – it took a wicked deflection off Jerdy Scouten, leaving Lukasz Skorupski with no chance as it found the corner of the net for 1-0.
JUVE COME CLOSE TO A SECOND
The opener meant Bologna had to come out and attack the Bianconeri. There were a few bright moments from Riccardo Orsolini, but it was Juventus who always looked the most likely to score the second of the day. Cristiano Ronaldo worked a yard of space on the edge of the box and fired for goal, though Skorupski showed good reactions by saving first the Portuguese’s effort and then the follow-up from Federico Bernardeschi. The Juve No.33 had another shot from distance shortly afterwards, but again the Polish keeper in the Bologna goal showed safe hands. Pirlo’s men continued to push forward as Arthur produced a fine ball to release Juan Cuadrado on the break, with the Colombian driving over 50 yards only to fire over from inside the box. To their credit, Bologna looked to create chances of their own, with Soriano flashing a shot just wide of the post from the edge of the box, but the Bianconeri were by far the most dangerous side – yet they were thwarted again by Skorupski as the Pole got a touch on Cuadrado’s low cross, diverting it away from the waiting McKennie. The half-time whistle came soon after, with Bologna still in the game at 1-0 down despite a dominant first-half performance from Juventus.
MCKENNIE MAKES IT TWO
The second half started with a scare for Juve as Wojciech Szczesny saved Cuadrado from the ignominy of scoring an own-goal – the Colombian had got his head on a cross from Schouten only to send the ball flying towards his own net, and he had Szczesny to thank for tipping it over the bar. There was more work to come for the Polish keeper in the shape of a low Barrow shot and a curling effort from Orsolini. It was an open game – perhaps too stretched at times – but that resulted in an entertaining spectacle with chances at both ends. Nicola Sansone fired wide for the visitors after a quick move, but minutes later it was Juve on the attack as Skorupski tipped Cuadrado’s shot behind for a corner. Pirlo shuffled his pack halfway through the second half, sending on Alvaro Morata for Bernardeschi and moving Kulusevski out wide. The Spaniard was involved seconds after coming on, linking up with Cuadrado before getting a shot away from inside the box, but Skorupski’s save meant he had to settle for a corner. Cuadrado sent in a perfect cross into the centre of the area, where McKennie was waiting to head the ball into the corner to score his third league goal of the season and his fourth in all competitions.
JUVE IN CONTROL
McKennie nearly had a second when he got onto the end of a Cristiano Ronaldo cross minutes later, but once again Skorupski made the save. Pirlo brought on Matthijs De Ligt, Adrien Rabiot and Aaron Ramsey for the final stages, with Leonardo Bonucci, Arthur and Kulusevski making way. The fresh legs allowed Juve to manage the game comfortably and play on the break, with Ronaldo and Rabiot both having chances to add a third for the Bianconeri. Ronaldo would have one last opportunity to get onto the scoresheet as the minutes ticked away, but Skorupski made yet another stop to deny him. The final whistle confirmed a 2-0 victory for Juventus, who follow up their Italian Super Cup triumph with a return to winning ways in Serie A. This was a convincing and at times thrilling performance – just what we needed.
JUVENTUS 2-0 BOLOGNA (HT: 1-0)
SCORERS: Arthur 15, McKennie 71.
JUVENTUS: Szczesny; Cuadrado, Bonucci, (de Ligt 78) Chiellini, Danilo; Bernardeschi (Morata 68), Arthur (Rabiot 78), Bentancur, McKennie (Demiral 90+2); Kulusevski (Ramsey 78), Ronaldo.
Subs not used: Buffon, Pinsoglio, Frabotta, Dragusin, Di Pardo, Fagioli, Chiesa.
BOLOGNA: Skorupski; De Silvestri (Soumaoro HT), Danilo L., Tomiyasu, Dijks (Palacio 76); Schouten, Svanberg (Dominguez 64); Orsolini (Skov Olsen 76), Soriano, Vignato (Sansone HT); Barrow.
Subs not used: Da Costa, Breza, Hickey, Soumaoro, Paz, Baldursson, Poli.
Assistants: Vivenzi, Prenna.
Fourth official: Ghersini.
VAR: Calvarese, De Meo.
Yellow cards: Vignato 14, Kulusevski 21, Chiellini 47, Arthur 52, Dijks 62.