There will come a point in time over the next few weeks where Juventus will likely score a goal that looks rather ordinary and won’t register all that high on the degree of difficulty scale. It just so happened on a day where the club’s legendary goalkeeper achieved one of the few records he didn’t previously own that Juve’s run of highlight reel goals continued.
That included Cristiano Ronaldo scoring from a free kick situation in a Juventus jersey.
I’m not joking.
I would never joke about something like that.
I have never made any cracks about Ronaldo and his lack of free kick accuracy since signing with Juventus. Nope. Never. Would never do that. Never, ever, ever.
It was another day of Juventus scoring a bunch of goals — and very pretty goals at that. Paulo Dybala started it with his latest left-footed wonder while Ronaldo’s first-ever free kick goal with Juventus — SERIOUSLY! — putting the icing on the cake in Saturday’s 4-1 win over Torino at Allianz Stadium. It was, after the 3-1 win over Genoa earlier in the week, another sign that this Juve side is starting to get some things figured out. And, with the schedule being the way it is and much tougher in the coming weeks, getting these kinds of performances on top of all three points being secured is a rather positive development as compared to how we’ve seen Juve play against lower table sides over the course of this season.
Not bad for Gigi Buffon’s recording breaking 648th Serie A appearance, huh?
If only he could have gotten a shutout on this historic day.
If only VAR wasn’t stupid. If only handball rules weren’t completely stupid. If those two things didn’t go together like they did on Saturday and unfortunately had folks firing up their Matthijs de Ligt handball memes again, then it would have been a truly a wonderful day at Allianz Stadium.
Not that it wasn’t because there was no shutout. It was. It was another enjoyable day watching Juventus win (and beat little bro Torino at the same time). I like those and would hereby like to request more of them both for the rest of this season and going on into the foreseeable future.
We haven’t exactly had a lot of those this season, so enjoy them.
Regardless, this was another step in the right direction. Say what you want about the level of competition — and you won’t be wrong because Torino looked like a complete mess after Dybala punched them right in the gut less than two minutes in — but Juventus has been looking much improved as a team on the whole of late. These aren’t grind-it-out kinds of games anymore. Juventus aren’t just taking control of the game for large portions of the proceedings, either. They’re taking control early and never giving it back. That’s what happened against Genoa, and that’s what happened against Torino as well.
Will that be the case against Atalanta in a matter of days? Well, that might be a completely different game entirely based on how those fellas are playing right now.
But, based on how Juve looked right out of the three-month layoff due to the coronavirus suspension of play — and you could understand why — this is nothing but good news.
Except Gigi Buffon deserved a clean sheet on this day.
I will never let that not be the case.
RANDOM THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS
- That penalty call on Matthijs de Ligt was crap. That’s the polite way of saying it.
- Stupid penalty call aside, de Ligt continues to impress during the 2020 calendar year. Let’s just go ahead and adjust history and just not count that penalty kick against him, shall we?
- There was a point in the second half where de Ligt did really well to block a shot at the top of the box and you just hear Buffon’s booming voice scream “BRAVO MATTY!!!!!” Even with Buffon being Buffon you might not hear that if Allianz Stadium was packed full of 41,000 people like it usually is. But that’s the quirk of no fans in the stands — you hear EVERYTHING.
- That was Ronaldo’s first free kick goal in 43 attempts as a Juventus player. Forty-three!
- Ronaldo also became the first Juventus player to score 25 Serie A goals in a season since Omar Sivori in the 1960-61 season. That’s pretty good.
- One more Ronaldo stat nugget: He has now scored or assisted a goal in 16 consecutive matches. That’s also pretty good.
- The announcers on the ESPN+ stream — which is usually just the regular world stream these days — seemed rather surprised that it took Ronaldo 43 attempts to score from a free kick situation. Seeing as I have an ESPN+ subscription, this is certainly not the first time that those two announcers have called a Juventus game in the last two seasons. So, basically, they had seen plenty of Ronaldo free kicks go into the wall. This was not breaking news. Or, should I say the fact that he hadn’t been very good from free kick situations isn’t breaking news. The breaking news is that Ronaldo DID score on a free kick.
- Maybe somewhat lost in all of the Dybala and Ronaldo goal scoring fun is that Juan Cuadrado’s goal was really, really good, too. That was not an easy angle to score from. Nor was the fact that he was able to get that kind of velocity on his shot with a defender right in front of him. Super smash.
- If it wasn’t for Ronaldo’s big day, Cuadrado would have gotten ANOTHER Man of the Match nod on WhoScored. Not bad for a winger who is playing as a full-time defender these days.
- Also lost in the fact all of these things happened in the same game is the fact that Leonardo Bonucci made his 400th appearance in all competitions in a Juventus jersey. Not bad.
- Gigi Buffon had more touches than Federico Bernardeschi against Torino.
- Douglas Costa almost had as many touches as Federico Bernardeschi did against Torino. Costa came on for Bernardeschi in the 55th minute.
- Juventus won’t have de Ligt and Dybala available against Milan on Tuesday due to suspension. Throw in the injuries that are still hanging around and Maurizio Sarri has very little chances of rotating at a time when rotating some players might be a good idea.
- Rodrigo Bentancur had six tackles against Torino. Seeing how he was working his ass off defensively Saturday, that’s not much of a surprise. I’m proud of you, son. Keep up the good work. (And your recent haircut/beard lining up looks good, too.)
- Go Not Lazio.