06 March 2022
Three important points on the back of the second 1-0 victory of the week, this time against Spezia. After the Italian Cup semi-final success, at the Allianz Stadium on Sunday against Spezia, Juve collected a 14th Serie A match without defeat, which strengthened their grip on fourth place, six points ahead of Atalanta and Roma.
MORATA SWEEPS HOME
Juventus were invited to break down a Spezia defence that at times had five players strung along the back. Maintaining patience was key and that is what the Bianconeri did through the midfield three of Arthur, Adrien Rabiot and Manuel Locatelli. The first glimpse on goal came on seven minutes, when Alvaro Morata collected a free-kick from Juan Cuadrado, but his shot hit the side-netting. 10 minutes later, again Cuadrado was involved in the thick of the action, when he dribbled his way into the opposing penalty area. His cut back found Arthur, whose confident shot was blocked by the Spezia defence. However, the lead was only a matter of minutes away. A poor clearance by Spezia goalkeeper Ivan Provedel was quickly fed forward by Daniele Rugani to Dusan Vlahovic, who likewise played a first-time pass to Locatelli. The midfielder roled the ball into the path of Morata, who side-footed his shot beyond Provedel for a deserved lead on 21 minutes. Juventus pushed on for a second goal before the interval, and came close when Cuadrado won back possession. After exchanging passes with Arthur, he found himself with only the goalkeeper to beat. However, Provedel dived smartly to his left to turn the shot out for a corner.
Juventus started slowly after the restart, and Spezia almost took advantage. A clever backheel by Daniele Verde played in Salva Ferrer. The full-back's cross was met by Emmanuel Gyasi just six yards out. However, Wojciech Szczęsny smothered the header on his goal line. This time it was Juve who were playing the waiting game, and after winning back possession in the centre of the park had the chance to carve open the Spezia defence on the counter attack but the final pass was lacking. Just after the hour mark, Federico Bernardeschi returned to action to a warm reception from the home support. With Luca Pellegrini off, Danilo switched to the left and Cuadrado stepped back into defence. After Morata had his effort blocked from another promising counter attack, it was Spezia that created another gilt-edged chance with just 10 minutes remaining. Kevin Agudelo was played in behind the Bianconeri defence but was denied but another important save by Szczęsny. In the closing minutes, Juve the chance to wrap up the match. However, neither Cuadrado, with a long-range effort, or Morata, with a tap-in from a Cuadrado cross, could find the net. As it was, the first-half goal from Morata proved to be enough for another three points.
JUVENTUS 1-0 SPEZIA (HT: 1-0)
SCORERS: 21' Morata (J)
JUVENTUS: Juventus: Szczesny; Danilo, Rugani, De Ligt, Pellegrini (63' Bernardeschi); Locatelli, Arthur, Rabiot; Cuadrado, Vlahovic (85' Kean), Morata.
Subs not used: Perin, Pinsoglio, Stramaccioni, Miretti, Akè, Soulé
SPEZIA: Provedel; Ferrer, Erlic, Nikolaou, Reca; Maggiore (76' Bourabia), Bastoni, Agudelo; Gyasi, Manaj (76' Kovalenko), Verde.
Subs not used: Zoet, Zovko, Hristov, Podgoreanu, Antiste, Sher, Nguiamba, Strelec, Bertola.
ASSISTANTS: Cecconi, Rocca
FOURTH OFFICIAL: Miele
VAR: Mazzoleni, Rossi
BOOKINGS: 54' Erlic (S), 57' Vlahovic (J), 61' Pellegrini (J), 67' Bernardeschi (J) , 90+3' Bourabi (S)