10 February 2022
Dusan Vlahovic was brought in to provide a goal threat. Two matches into his Juventus career and the 22-year-old has done just that. A debut goal against Verona at the weekend was followed up this evening with a late winner, thanks to the helping hand of Sassuolo defender Ruan Tressoldi. Pauolo Dybala had given Juventus the perfect start but the visitors under coach Alessio Dionisi equalised half-way through the first half. Save after save from Gianluca Pegolo thwarted Juventus in the second period until that late, late winner.
DYBALA STRIKES EARLY
On their first concerted attack Juventus found the breakthrough. Alex Sandro found himself in space down the left and his cross was met by Weston McKennie. The midfielder's shot was charged down but the loose ball was lashed into the net by Dybala. Three minutes on the clock and Juventus were already in the lead.
A couple of minutes later Sassuolo cleared their lines as Juventus looked to double their advantage. The visitors regrouped, however, and came back into the match.
Domenico Berardi latched onto a miss-hit pass from Leonardo Bonucci and called Mattia Perin into his first save of the match. Again Sassuolo threatened following a fine run from full-back Georgios Kyriakopoulos, which forced another clever save from Perin. On 24 minutes the Juventus goalkeeper was blameless as Hamed Traore fired a shot from just inside the penalty area into the far corner of the net. Being pegged back jolted Juventus into life and on 37 minutes Vlahovic was set up with his first chance. Bearing down on Gianluca Pegolo in the Sassuolo goal, the Juventus striker drove his shot into the keeper's legs. Four minutes later in a scramble inside the penalty area, Pegolo at full stretch managed to divert an Alex Sandro effort.
JUVE DOMINATION PAYS OFF
Juventus survived a couple of Gianluca Scamacca headers at the restart before definitively taking control of the match. On 55 minutes Weston McKennie struck the post as Juve pushed forward. Eight minutes later Vlahovic again found Pegolo in his path. Juventus continued to press and a Dybala free-kick was met again by McKennie. From Pegolo's save, Matthijs De Ligt hit the frame of the goal from close range. Inside the 15 minutes, the home pressure didn't let up. Alvaro Morata found himself one-on-one with the Sassuolo goalkeeper but once again the veteran pulled off an outstanding block. As the match appeared destined to reach extra time, the Juve pressure finally paid off. Vlahovic chased down a through pass from Dybala. The centre forward used his last reserves of strength and determination to take on the Sassuolo defence single handedly. His shot took a deflection off Ruan Tressoldi to wrong foot Pegolo and restore the Bianconeri's advantage.
The late win rewards Juventus with a two-legged semi-final against Fiorentina.
JUVENTUS 2-1 SASSUOLO (HT:1-1)
SCORERS: 3' Dybala (J), 24' Traoré (S), Ruan (OG) 88'
Perin; De Sciglio (61' Morata), de Ligt, Bonucci, Alex Sandro; Zakaria (61' Locatelli), Arthur (71' Rabiot), McKennie; Cuadrado, Vlahovic (90' Kaio Jorge), Dybala
Subs not used: Szczesny, Pinsoglio, Danilo, Rugani, Pellegrini, Soule, Aké
Pegolo; Ruan, Ayhan (46' Muldur), Ferrari, Kyriakopoulos; Harroui (73' Frattesi), Lopez; Berardi (59' Defrel), Raspadori, Traoré (60' Henrique) Scamacca
Subs not used: Satalino, Consigli, Magnanelli, Rogerio, Ciervo, Peluso, Ceide, Chiriches, De Souza
Assistants: Paganessi, Rocca.