25 April 2022
Juventus are making it a habit of scoring late. Not only did Paulo Dybala cancel out Sassuolo's advantage in the 45th minute of the first half, Moise Kean struck the winner in the 89th to earn three points which could prove fundamental in the Bianconeri's bid to nail down fourth place. Juventus now hold an eight-point advantage of nearest challengers Roma after a display that was more about grinding out the result than displaying the finer side of the game.
WAKE UP CALL
Juan Cuadrado did not travel to Reggio Emilia because of a thigh strain, and a late call off by Matthijs De Ligt, not 100% fit, reduced the number of players available to Massimiliano Allegri for kick off. Daniele Rugani stepped into the centre of defence, as the Dutchman took his place on the bench. The midfield four that performed so well in midweek in the Cup against Fiorentina were confirmed, while in attack, Paulo Dybala teamed up with Alvaro Morata. It was Dybala that found a late equaliser despite a first half dominated by the home side. As early as the 10th minute, Giacomo Raspadori signalled his intentions with a shot that curled just wide of Wojciech Szczęsny's far post. The Sassuolo forward did put his name on the scoresheet but not before Szczesny made saves from Davide Frattesi and Gianluca Scamacca. Sassuolo's movement and quick passing paid off on 39', when a flick from Domenico Berardi played through Raspadori, who beat Szczesny with a low drive at the near post. Going behind stung Juventus into life, and the reaction was so strong that the Bianconeri were almost ahead at half time. The equaliser arrived on 45 minutes, when Morata won possession deep in Sassuolo territory. He found Denis Zakaria inside the penalty area, who with a deft lay off played the ball into the path of Dybala. The number 10 took one touch before slamming the ball high into the net. A minute later, a move again down the right, picked out Morata, but he couldn't keep his header down from a promising position. The second half required more of the same.
Three minutes after the restart, Morata met a corner with another header, which produced a prodigious reflex save from Andrea Consigli. The ball just evaded the onrushing Leonardo Bonucci as he slid for the tap in. 60 seconds later it was Szczesny who was called into action. At full stretch he kept out a rasping effort from Mert Muldur. Juventus left the onus to Sassuolo, but the Bianconeri defence, bolstered by Danilo in the centre, kept Szczesny out of further danger. The nearest the hosts came to worrying the Juve keeper was when Giorgos Kyriakopulos had an effort from the edge of the area, which swerved just wide. Allegri swapped things around, especially in attack, bringing on Vlahovic and Moise Kean, and it was Kean that would prove decisive. On the pitch just five minutes, Kean put pressure on Vlad Chiriches at the edge of the six yard area, the ball was deflected goalwards, and once again Consigli had to rely on his reflexes. The Sassuolo keeper was beaten for a second time though with only one minute of normal time remaining. Alex Sandro headed the ball towards the edge of the penalty area, where Kean did the rest. Controlling the ball with his back to goal, the striker turned Chiriches and drove his shot low between Consigli's legs. A late equaliser in the first half, a late winner in the second, and three points towards securing fourth place, perhaps even third place, now that only one point separates Juventus from Napoli.
SASSUOLO 1-2 JUVENTUS (HT: 1-1)
Scorers: 39' Raspadori (S), 45' Dybala (J), 89' Kean (J)
Consigli; Muldur, Chiriches, Ayhan, Kyriakopoulos; Frattesi (88' M.Henrique), Maxime Lopez; Berardi (79' Defrel), Raspadori, Traoré (79' Duricic); Scamacca.
Subs not used: Satalino, Pegolo, Magnanelli, Rogerio, Ciervo, Peluso, Ceide, Ferrari, Ruan.
Szczęsny; De Sciglio, Bonucci, Rugani (54' Chiellini), Alex Sandro; Bernardeschi (88' Miretti), Zakaria, Danilo, Rabiot; Dybala (55' Vlahovic), Morata (67' Kean).
Subs not used: Pinsoglio, Perin, de Ligt, Pellegrini, Zuelli.
ASSISTANTS: Liberti, Prenna
FOURTH OFFICIAL: Miele
VAR: Aureliano, Galetto
BOOKINGS: 45' Lopez (S), 50' Scamacca (S), 62' De Sciglio (J), 89' Kean (J)