Simply by looking at the players that Max Allegri has at his disposal, the capability of having a team that can not just score, but score in very quick fashion, is always something that’s on the table.
That was on display midway through the first half at the Dacia.
Juventus smelled blood in the water — or, in this case, a defense that was wobbling like a boxer that just took an uppercut or two to the chin — and struck with the kind of lightning-quick ferocity you couldn’t draw up any better. A relatively even opening 30 minutes was anything but that when you looked at the scoreboard come halftime’s arrival, with goals from Rodrigo Bentancur (!!!!) and Cristiano Ronaldo giving Juventus all the offense they needed to maintain their perfect winning percentage on the season.
And just think about this: Between the two goals, Juve could have had another if not for Simone Scuffet somehow keeping a Mario Mandzukic shot from the top of the six-yard box out thanks to a fantastic save form point-blank range.
Juve’s first-half blitz was basically summed up by the counterattack they deployed that ended up in Bentancur scoring his first career goal for Juventus.
The quick throw off the corner by Wojciech Szczesny.
The ability of Paulo Dybala to hold off the would-be tackler while turning with the ball at his feet and get it moving forward once again to Bentancur.
The cross from Joao Cancelo after he bombed down the right wing that found a surging Bentancur in the box right in front of Ronaldo.
It was the kind of counterattack that you
From Szczesny’s throw to Bentancur’s header hitting the back of the net — 19.85 seconds. (And yes, I timed that out myself, in case you were wondering.)
Look, this scoreline could have been a lot worse if it wasn’t for Scuffet. He was Udinese’s lone bright spot on Saturday night holding a Juve offense that was on cruise control yet still creating plenty of chances to only two goals. Juve dominated the possession, dominated the shot count, dominated just about everything that had to do with that match — including the final scoreline.
Udinese had a few moments that probably put a little bit of a scare into people, but it’s not like so much of this game was Juve walking the tightrope that put their lead into danger. Once Juve got up, that’s pretty much where they were going to be the entire time. It wasn’t in danger, it wasn’t heart attack-inducing. It was just a solid team performance from top to bottom — and pretty impressive when you consider this was the final game in the first busy stretch of the season where some legs could be tired.
Their legs weren’t tired.
Instead, they were stomping on Udinese.
Juventus won 2-0. It could have been 4-0 or 5-0. Either way, I’m good with it.
RANDOM THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS
- Upon first sight, I’m not sure the new away jersey paired with the home shorts/socks combination is all of that good of a look. Maybe I’m just not used to the new away kit to begin with since we haven’t seen it in game action, but I’m not sure this first impression was all that memorable. (Watch there be some kind of Serie A rule about this because of the conflicting colors that I don’t know about...)
- Very nice of Wojciech Szczesny to break out the orange goalkeeper kit for the first time in October. It’s not as nice as the red one he’s sported this season, but it’s the thought that counts, I guess.
- Woj had one save to make until second-half stoppage time rolled around. It was a very good save on a not-so-easy shot that skipped off the rain-soaked turf. He’s following the Gigi Buffon model of doing good things when called upon very well this season.
- And yes, I did fanboy the hell out after Bentancur’s goal. YOU SHOULD HAVE, TOO.
- For the record, the line to stan for Bentancur starts behind me. You know this.
- Joao Cancelo has this type of cross where it looks like he doesn’t even wind up his right foot and somehow drops dimes to his teammates in the box. It’s so pretty.
- Then again, pretty much anything Cancelo does when it comes to contributing to Juventus’ attack these days is pretty as hell.
- And yet, with all of that being said, Cancelo’s assist on Bentancur’s goal was his first assist of the season. Seems pretty amazing considering how good he’s been this season, doesn’t it?
- On-form Mario Mandzukic is sooooo much fun to watch.
- Emre Can’s first touch after coming on for Blaise Matuidi at halftime was a cross from the right wing that was destined for the stands the second it left his foot. Leave those kinds of things for the likes of Cancelo, Costa and Bernardeschi to take care of from that spot, Emre.
- Lasagna for dinner > Lasagna scoring on Juve
- The ESPN+ announcers couldn’t say “Mandragora” correctly for the life of them. Good to see that Italian last names continue to be the bane of British announcers’ existence.
- The kinds of saves that Scuffet made against Juventus were the living proof of why he was so highly rated as a teenager. It’s hard to believe he’s still just 22 years old when you consider he made his senior debut back in 2014.
- I know this has nothing to do with today’s Juventus game, but Jose Mourinho — who might not make Manchester United’s game against Juve after the international break — fielded Paul Pogba as a center back against Newcastle. So things are going well over there.
- Remember how last season’s trip to Udinese was a complete emotional roller coaster before it turned into a Juventus blowout win? I very much preferred this route to the three points a whole lot better. Much better on my early-morning heart rate.
- Good win.