02 November 2021
An accomplished Juventus display at the Allianz Stadium on Wednesday night saw the Bianconeri overcome Zenit St Petersburg 4-2 in their Champions League Group Stage encounter to secure qualification into the next round of the competition with two matches to spare.
Juventus showed attacking intent shown from the get-go, eager to set out off the blocks early and stamp their authority on the game. The highly-charged hosts fashioned a number of chances in the opening minutes, Federico Bernardeshi striking his effort straight at Zenit goalkeeper Stanislav Kritsyuk before Paulo Dybala’s shot from range bounced back off the post.
The Bianconeri’s relentless pressure paid dividends as after back-to-back corners, Zenit failed to clear their lines and dangerman Dybala was on hand to stroke home the game’s opener.
Juve kept their foot on the gas, goalscorer Dybala finding an unmarked Alvaro Morata in the box, the Spaniard lifting his attempt over the crossbar as Zenit survived another Bianconeri attack.
Reduced to shots from range, Zenit were gifted an equaliser after Leonardo Bonucci attempted to head away a harmless cross which looped over a helpless Wojciech Szczesny and into the back of the net.
Undeterred, the home side continued their attacking play, Manuel Locatelli’s well-placed cross finding Federico Chiesa who couldn’t place his header past a diving Kritsyuk.
Chances continued to be created, Morata finding the back of the net before being adjudged to be offside, following which a barrage of attempts from Locatelli, Weston McKennie and Bernardeschi in quick succession failed to get past the Zenit goalkeeper as the two sides headed into the tunnel on level terms.
The Bianconeri started the second stanza with a flurry of opportunities, Dybala’s left-footed shot whizzing inches past the post, before his well-struck volley minutes later was frenetically cleared away by the Zenit rearguard.
In the 58th minute, Chiesa’s meaningful run towards goal was illegally stopped as Juventus were awarded a penalty. Dybala stepped up to the spot, missing his first attempt but making no mistake at the second time of asking after the referee ordered a re-take.
With their tails up, Juventus continued carving out more chances, Chiesa failing to keep his shot down as he blazed over the bar, before Mckennie smashed his effort against the crossbar after an impressive run from the halfway line.
A Szczesny double save kept the Zenit attack at bay, but Juve would soon have a third, breaking on the counter as a fine Chiesa finish gave the hosts a two-goal cushion. The advantage would be extended as Morata raced onto a through-ball, netting a fourth to put the Bianconeri firmly in control.
By the time Sardar Azmoun slotted home an injury time consolation, the result was all but assured as Juventus made it four wins from four, maintaining their 100 per cent record in the Champions League to advance to the next round with two matches still left to play in the group.
JUVENTUS 4-2 ZENIT ST PETERSBURG (HT 1-1)
SCORER: DYBALA 11’, 58’, CHIESA 74’, MORATA 82’; BONUCCI 26’ (OG), AZMOUN 90+2’
Line-up: Szczesny, de Ligt, Danilo, Alex Sandro, Bonucci (Rugani 85’), McKennie, Bernardeschi (Rabiot 80’), Chiesa, Locatelli (Arthur 79’), Morata, Dybala (Kulusevski 86’)
Subs not used: Perin, Pinsoglio, Chiellini, Cuadrado, Bentancur.
Line-up: Kritsyuk, Chistiakov, Lovren, Rakitskyy (Dzyba 75’), Sutormin, Barrios, Wendel (Kuznetsov 88’), Karavaev (Malcom 59’), Mostovoy (Krugovoi 59’) Claudinho (Erokhin 75’), Azmoun
Subs not used: M Kerzhakov, Byazrov, Krugovoi, Kravstov, Khotulev.