19 August 2021
Massimiliano Allegri's Juventus beat their U23 counterparts 3-0 in their final dress rehearsal before Sunday's Serie A curtain-raiser against Udinese.
Paulo Dybala, Alvaro Morata and Aaron Ramsey were the names on the score sheet but there were plenty more positives to take from an enjoyable match played at a decent tempo.
With Cristiano Ronaldo, Juan Cuadrado, Kaio Jorge and new signing Manuel Locatelli all training separately, Allegri started with three at the back and opted for a three-pronged attack of Dybala, Morata and Dejan Kulusevski. And it was two of these who combined for the opener just seven minutes in when the Swede teed up the Argentine, who fired home an unstoppable angled effort.
Allegri's side were holding a high line and a high tempo while closing down all the spaces and it wasn't long before another chance came their way. Kulusevski was again involved, serving as the foil for Federico Chiesa to play a delightful one-two – only for the Italian to be denied by the woodwork.
Further chances came and went for Chiesa, Ramsey, Rodrigo Bentancur and Kulusevski before the Bianconeri finally got the second goal – and what a beauty it was. Morata played in Chiesa, who in turn laid off for the onrushing Danilo to send in a cross. Morata met it and cleverly diverted the ball into the net with the back of his heel.
RAMSEY ADDS THE THIRD
The U23s showed their character and looked to respond to the set-back through Fabio Miretti, whose shot crashed off the angle of the goal, before Dybala almost secured his brace with a curling right-footed effort that missed the target by inches. It was then Dybala who provided Aaron Ramsey with assist for the first team’s third goal, with the Welshman duly obliging in the form of a dinked finish over the keeper. Franco Israel did his bit to keep the half-time scoreline down, saving from Dejan Kulusevski and Dybala, while a curling strike from Morata went narrowly wide in between the two.
EVEN SECOND HALF
Both teams made 11 changes at half time, with the first team switching to a back four. The tempo remained high, however, and Filippo Ranocchia was the next to threaten as he headed Weston McKennie’s cross onto the crossbar. After around ten minutes, Allegri moved Federico Bernardeschi into the trequartista role behind Matias Soulé and Alejandro Marques, but it was Ranocchia that came close again with a right-footed effort from the edge of the box. The U23s responded with a left footer from Luca Clemenza, who saw his effort tipped over the bar by Carlo Pinsoglio, before Bernardeschi skimmed the woodwork from a free-kick with the final chance of the game.
The fans present at the JTC applauded the Bianconeri at the final whistle, with just two weeks to go now until they will be able to watch them at Allianz Stadium against Empoli.
For now, attention turns to trip to Udinese on Sunday, when the real football begins.