On a difficult evening in Reggio Emilia, worsened by testing, wet conditions, Massimilano Allegri’s men were unable to overturn the early numerical disadvantage imposed upon them by Giorgio Chiellini’s first-dismissal, as well as that of the scoreboard following Nicola Sansone’s 20th minute free-kick, eventually succumbing to their fourth defeat in ten Serie A outings.
Wednesday night in numbers
As Sansone’s superb set piece arched over the wall and into the top corner of Gianluigi Buffon’s net, the Bianconeri were left cursing their bad luck for the fifth time since August with the winger’s goal coming from the Neroverdi’s first shot on target, a feat already seen in Juve’s earlier encounters with Udinese, Chievo, Frosinone and Bologna.
Yesterday’s meeting also saw Juventus fall behind in a game on an equal number of occasions (five), having not lost more than four times in their opening ten fixtures since the 1987/88 season.
As for the on-field figures, the tale was one of territorial domination for Juventus and profligacy in front of goal.
Although both sides only mustered three efforts on target apiece throughout the 90 minutes, the Bianconeri tried their luck on twice as many occasions as their hosts (14 to seven), contributing to trends witnessed on previous Matchdays.
While Juventus are one of the league’s most wasteful teams when it comes to finishing, Sassuolo remain among the best, a quirk highlighted in Tuesday’s pre-match preview.
Other figures illustrating the Old Lady’s greater attacking intent on the night include the number of corners (11 to the Neroverdi’s one) as well as her monopolisation of possession as Allegri’s charges saw 56 per cent of the ball, attempting almost double the number of passes in the process (514 to 306.)
Although the Bianconeri were already trailing by that point, the dismissal of Giorgio Chiellini just before half time, his first in just under eight years (with the last coming against Parma in November 2007), put the home side in a commanding position.
From then on, it was the defences that came to the fore and it was no surprise that Sassuolo’s Francesco Acerbi and Juve’s Leonardo Bonucci were among the game’s most consistent performers.
In the attacking third, there were notable contributions from Juan Cuadrado and Paul Pogba who were both unfortunate to convert from promising positions on two occasions each, while both topping the Bianconeri charts for the greatest number of passes completed in the opposition half (36).
Arguably, the evening’s busiest man in pink was midfielder and later right full back, Stefano Sturaro, who won six tackles and regained possession on eight occasions for his team.
The most intriguing statistic of the night however was produced by the scorer of the encounter’s deciding goal: Sansone’s strike ensured that Sassuolo maintained their record of winning every time the 24-year old finds the net in the league.