Under the Friday night lights, the red-hot Bianconeri visited a slumping Lazio — who, prior to this game, had lost four of their last five league matches. Juventus arrived at Stadio Olimpico with a depleted midfield; the big mystery for them was who would join Claudio Marchisio and Stefano Sturaro in the middle of the pitch. Some reports suggested that Alex Sandro would perform as an emergency midfielder, but Max Allegri preferred to use Kwadwo Asamoah, who recovered from his injuries just in time.
Juventus started the game with their — lately preferred — 3-5-2 formation, once again using the Paulo Dybala-Mario Mandzukic duo. Lazio manager Stefano Pioli opted for a crowded midfield, employing a 4-5-1 formation with the veteran Miroslav Klose as his only striker.
The match began with the Biancocelesti looking to pressure Juventus early and often. They crafted their first warning at 5th minute when Antonio Candreva delivered a low shot from distance that went wide of Gianluigi Buffon's right post. It was a decent start for the hosts. But, nevertheless, their luck soon changed.
At the 7th minute, Alex Sandro sent a wicked cross from the right flank, and Lazio defender Mauricio cut the service, but his defective clearance was recovered by Paulo Dybala, who performed a powerful shot that ricocheted in Santiago Gentiletti and went into Federico Marchetti's net. Juventus gained an early lead that became decisive in the match. Lazio was again haunted by the desperation from previous matches and their recent lack of success against the Bianconeri. They tried to respond but found the Juventus' BBC at its finest.
Then came one of the highlights of the season: In the 32nd minute, Mandzukic passed the ball to Dybala just outside Lazio's penalty box, 'La Joya' juggled the ball after a his initial touch and fired a terrific left-footed shot into the bottom right corner that left Marchetti without a chance. Paulo's magic was too much for the Eagles, who found themselves down 2-0 at halftime.
The second half of the game could be easily described as a defensive clinic by Juventus. Pioli tried to unleash his armory bringing in Balde Diao Keita and Felipe Anderson, yet they couldn't find an answer to the Bianconeri's puzzle.
Five minutes after halftime Stefan Radu fell on the edge of Juventus' box when he was disputing a ball with Andrea Barzagli. The home crowd screamed for a penalty kick, but the referee didn't appreciate a foul on the play.
At the 71st minute Marco Parolo tested Buffon with a long-range free kick, but his effort died in the sticky gloves of the Juventus captain. Three minutes later, Keita shot on target again, however, Gigi was well positioned and controlled the ball easily. After that Juventus quietly eclipsed Lazio, the Roman side had 63 percent of possession of the ball during thematch, but they were never in control.
Juventus continued with their comeback in Serie A and right now they're only four points behind Serie A leader Napoli.
Buffon 6.5 He reached 400 appearances in Serie A as a Juventino and conquered another clean sheet. Good times for Gigi.
Lichtsteiner 6.5 The Swiss Express was solid in the game, got an interesting battle with Radu for the right flank.
Barzagli 6.5 The Great Wall of Barza seems to be ageless. Never had any troubles.
Bonucci 7 Managed and erased Klose from the game. Another fine performance by Leo
Chellini 7.5 King Kong took no prisoners in this one. He was a force in the back line and even secured the ball onto the other side corner to finish the game.
Alex Sandro 8 Once again the young Brazilian delivered a great act. He wreaked havoc in the left flank.
Marchisio 6.5 A rutine night for Il Principino. He defended accordingly but lost a couple of easy balls in the midfield.
Sturaro 6.5 A belligerent defender. The game suited his skills and looked comfortable in the pitch
Asamoah 6.5 Let his presence felt. He had a box-to-box performance.
Mandzukic 7 He was great holding the ball and his self-sacrificing attitude was off the charts.
Dybala 8.5 Do you believe in magic? Outstanding performance by the 22-year-old Argentine, who is becoming an international rising star.
Evra 6.5 Entered the game for Asamoah and allowed Alex Sandro to play next to Marchisio and Sturaro. The Frenchman had a solid day in the office.
Cuadrado 6.5 Came in for Dyabala at the 79-minute mark. The Colombian speedster helped to seal the victory with his defense, but never found the opportunity to counterattack.
Álvaro Morata 6.5 Replaced Mandzukic 10 minutes before the final whistle.
Allegri 7.5 Mad Max made a great read of the game. His side controlled the game and increased their momentum in Serie A. The Livornian is making an excellent work with Paulo Dybala.
Things I think I think
- We will remember 2015 as the year when Alex Sandro and Paulo Dybala joined Juventus.
- Please Asabob survived this game!
- Poor Dusan Basta, he will have nightmares with Alex Sandro.
- The race for the Capocannonieri: Higuain 12; Eder 10; Kalinic 9; Insigne 7; Dybala 7. Place your bets!
- See you against Sevilla, Fino alla fine!