Cristiano Ronaldo saved three points in the death for the difficult side of Juventus against Udinese in a 2: 1 victory on Sunday.
After officially relinquishing their Inter title earlier Sunday, Juventus began the game lethargically and were penalized for their approach just ten minutes later when Nauel Molina finished a quick free kick. The Old Lady dominated possession for the rest of the half, but other than Weston McKenney’s cornering chance, it never seemed like an equalizer.
Andrea Pirlo’s team slowly left the blocks after the break, again tormented by the same problems. Udinese were happy to sit down and stay in shape before jumping beyond the defunct Juventus press at the break without having to break through gears.
Udinese’s Jens Stryger Larsen soared above the crowd, but couldn’t knock the header home 66 minutes into the match. Cristiano Ronaldo equalized in the 83rd minute from a penalty after winning the exact free kick, ending a series of three games without a goal.
The first inspired a dramatic second, as Ronaldo collected a bracket in the 90th minute to turn the game out of nowhere.
Ronaldo’s goals saved Pirlo after his side presented another disappointing performance, but decisively kept them at point level with both Atalanta and Milan in the Serie A table.
On a rather strange afternoon in Udine, this is how I assessed the Bianconeri.
Wojciech Szczesny (GK) – 5/10 – I have a touch of the initial goal and thus it should be stronger to protect it.
Danilo (RB) – 6/10 – A few decent battles by Danilo and well positioned to stop any counterattacks from developing from time to time.
Mathijs de Ligt (CB) – 5/10 – A little for De Ligt to do in defense. Apart from launching attacks on his country – if you can call them that – the Dutchman could only watch from behind.
Leonardo Bonucci (CB) – 5/10 – The veteran captain was sometimes sucked into several cheap challenges, but otherwise he was disappointed as his country failed to make the most of their possession.
Alex Sandro (LB) – 6/10 – One of Juve’s only real threats in the first half. Sandro wanted to bring the ball forward and try chances for his attacking colleagues.
Juan Cuadrado (RM) – 5/10 – The Colombian centered a cross from the right flank with fleeting success, but mostly lacked the quality to feed his attackers.
Rodrigo Bentancourt (CM) – 4/10 – Firm in stopping the accumulation of opposition, but just as steadfast in slowing down his own country. Bentancourt lacked any ball quality and struggled to set the pace of the midfield.
Weston McKenney (CM) – 5/10 – A wide shot from the field in the first half – this should have been an equalizer for his country. Positive in jumping, but McKenney lacked the quality or mentality to grab the game on his own.
Federico Bernardeschi (LM) – 3/10 – He failed to establish himself in one-on-one situations and seemed devoid of creativity. Bernardeschi has to do more with the playing time given to him in the absence of Federico Chiesa.
Paulo Dybala (ST) – 6/10 – He made a save for Simone Scuffet in the first half, but it was never a particularly disturbing effort to sum up the lack of service. A frustrating afternoon for Dybala, who seemed unable to keep up with the other players.
Cristiano Ronaldo (ST) – 9/10 – Absolutely nowhere can be seen all afternoon to summarize a terrible performance of Juve. He showed up ten minutes to collect a fine brace and keep his side in the four, because Ronaldo does that.
Deyan Kulusevski – 6/10
Alvaro Morata – 6/10
Felix Korea – 6/10
Adrien Rabiot – 7/10 – He provided the most important, winning assist for Ronaldo.