If you wanted somebody pretty Juventus footballing on your Sunday, you probably should have tuned into the Juve women’s game instead. That’s because Juventus’ trip to Frosinone was anything but pretty and anything but the kind of impressive performance that we saw a few days earlier when they were down a man against Valencia.
Luckily, in the 81st minute, the bounces finally turned in Juve’s direction.
A deflection here, a deflection there, and Cristiano Ronaldo was celebrating his third Serie A goal in the last two games, as his go-ahead goal late in Juve’s 2-0 win over Frosinone made sure that the seven-time Italian champions were going to drop points against opposition that hasn’t scored a goal yet through the season’s first five games.
The score is flattering, one that was aided by Federico Bernardeschi’s stoppage time goal right before the final whistle, but this game was anything but that. This wasn’t pretty, wasn’t what some were expecting with the first-place team in Serie A facing one of the three newly-promoted sides.
In case you’re wondering, Juventus Women opened their league campaign with a 5-0 rout of Fimauto Valpolicella.
So, yeah. That game was a whole lot better than this one.
By a mile.
Frosinone executed the Juventus-vs.-relegation battler game plan to near perfection on Sunday. Ronaldo’s goal came on Juventus’ 29th shot of the night. And it’s not like a lot of them were dangerous shots for Frosinone goalkeeper Marco Sportiello to save, either. Juventus were struggling to break down the yellow brick wall that was in front of them, settling for long shot after long shot after long shot.
It wasn’t until Bernardeschi came on for Rodrigo Bentancur early in the second half that they started — key, STARTED — to look somewhat dangerous going forward. And even then, it’s not like Sportiello was getting peppered and forced into diving save after diving save.
This was not really a grinder of a game. It was more of a case where Juve didn’t play well at all, got a late goal or two and then escaped their trip to Frosinone with all three points.
No style points here.
Not something that we’re going to look back on and talk about as one of the best matches Juventus played all season.
But like I said last weekend, it’s nice to be on the good side of a Ronaldo game-winning goal. It just took 80 minutes and a couple of favorable bounces to go Juve’s way to finally happen against a dogged Frosinone side that defended its absolute ass off all game long.
RANDOM THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS
- My Man of the Match: Dude on the megaphone in the curva leading Frosinone’s cheering. He belted stuff out from opening whistle to final whistle. Impressive early-season conditioning.
- It took Joao Cancelo all of about 30 seconds to deliver a better cross at right back than Juan Cuadrado did in about 69 minutes of game time. (Nice?)
- Side note: Not sure the Juan Cuadrado Fullback Experiment is gonna work, you guys.
- Federico Bernardeschi, again, showed why he’s been Juventus’ best player so far this season. And he did that in less than one half of play. Keep doing whatever the hell you’re doing right now, Fede.
- Seriously, Bernardeschi is so freaking good, man.
- Speaking of crosses, Giorgio Chiellini played in one of Juve’s most dangerous crosses against Frosinone because of course he did.
- Chiellini also saw a counterattack attempt come to an end when he kicked the ball 15 feet in front of him, tripped over himself and then turned it over. The more things change...
- It was interesting to see Miralem Pjanic play a little more of an advanced role with Emre Can playing as the holding midfielder in front of the defense. Maybe that was just Max Allegri looking to be a little experimental against a small club like Frosinone is, or this could be a thing we see more of as Can starts to get more and more playing time.
- The ESPN announcers kept mentioning how long it had been since Rodrigo Bentancur had started a Serie A game. They didn’t mention that he started for Uruguay at the World Cup this past summer, which seems like a pretty important piece of information to include.
- I really don’t know what to make of Paulo Dybala’s game right now. It seems to be very consistently inconsistent, but that’s just a guess.
- With some of the best free kick takers on the same roster, Juventus couldn’t put a free kick on frame against Frosinone. That seems like something that should be improved upon.
- I’ll leave you all with this question: How many of you knew that our old buddy Cristian Molinaro was Frosinone’s vice captain before he stepped up and shook hands with Giorgio Chiellini right before kickoff? Because I didn’t. (Also, this is funny.)