Within the same Juventus starting lineup Sunday afternoon, you had two very different ends of career spectrums. On one end, you had the jewel of Juve’s youth sector, Fabio Miretti, making his first-ever senior level start while Leonardo Bonucci, a vice captain at the club, was celebrating his 35th birthday.
While so many eyes were on the new kid, Bonucci ensured that he’s still got something to give despite officially hitting the mid-30s.
Bonucci’s second goal of the day — which just so happened to originate from a Miretti corner kick — proved to be the thing that finally wrapped up all three points after plenty of nervy moments in the second half. Juventus didn’t just let Venezia hang around, but let the last-place side in Serie A actually pull level before Bonucci made it a birthday brace after a made scramble in the box, giving Juve the 2-1 victory that moved them ever-so-closer to securing a Champions League spot next season.
Just to recap: Bonucci scored twice with assists from Matthijs de Ligt and Danilo. Both goals originated from dead ball situations off the foot of Miretti, who was rumored to be a surprise started coming out of training Saturday even though he’d barely played at the senior level, with only a few cameo appearances off the bench to his name.
Got it? Good, good.
It wasn’t all that pretty because none of them really are these days when it comes to Juventus. The classic Juventus move of scoring and/or taking an early lead only to ease off the gas as the first half goes on most definitely showed itself in this one.
And what do you know? Juventus were made to pay for that. Instead of putting Venezia away in the first half when just about every other team in Serie A probably would have, Juve let the visitors hang around and hang around and hang around, then seeing Venezia tie things up and suddenly force the Bianconeri to show some sort of sense of urgency again.
Thankfully — and I can’t say this enough — the game was tied for all of five minutes before Bonucci secured his brace with an ugly-yet-totally-effective go-ahead strike.
I mean, come on. That goal kinda represented Juventus’ efforts to extend the 1-0 lead. It was an ugly goal just like Juve adding a second goal after going ahead 1-0 was completely ugly, with Venezia tying the game at 1-1 being the only thing that really kicked things into gear.
Either way, Juve got that second goal. In about the opposite way as anybody wanted it to happen, but a goal is a goal and three points are three points.
Because of it, Juve are on the brink of securing Champions League football for next season. It’s not in the way we thought they would get there, but Juve’s almost there. One win against a relegation battler down, hopefully another one to go in a few days.
RANDOM THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS
- FABIO MIRETTI FABIO MIRETTI FABIO MIRETTI FABIO MIRETTI FABIO MIRETTI FABIO MIRETTI FABIO MIRETTI FABIO MIRETTI FABIO MIRETTI FABIO MIRETTI
- There was a moment before Juventus took the field for pre-game warmups where Denis Zakaria put his arm around Miretti’s shoulder and embraced the 18-year-old for a second. Maybe it was to calm him down or tell him something else, I don’t know. No matter what it truly was meant for, it looked like it was a veteran player just kinda reassuring a teenager on the cusp of his first-ever senior-level start. It was pretty cool to see, and you just had to think that Miretti’s mind was going a mile a minute at that exact moment.
- Hot take alert: Miretti was Juventus’ best player in the first half. I will die on this hill.
- Who had the most key passes in this game? Fabio Miretti.
- Play Miretti from the start against Genoa on Friday. I don’t care. Do it, Max.
- Ugly goal for the game-winner. Ugly celebration for the ugly goal? You bet ...
- With all of that early pressure and handful of scoring chances, would you have guessed that Juventus would finish with just four shots on target? Because that’s what ended up happening.
- Total side note: The Juventus women, with a 6-1 aggregate lead in the first leg of the Coppa Italia semifinals, fell behind 3-1 to Milan on Sunday and rallied to win 5-3 on the day. If you want watch a team that doesn’t sit back after taking a lead, then Joe Montemurro’s side is for you.
- Maybe we should have Joe head over from Vinovo to Continassa and have a chat with Max about being a little more aggressive with his tactics because letting the worst team in Serie A have that much of the ball for a huge chunk of this game just doesn’t look good at all.
- Even 50-50 in terms of possession. Again, that shouldn’t happen against this bad of a team.
- Denis Zakaria probably should have been sent off for that very bad tackle in the first half. He’s a pretty lucky fella to only get a yellow card for that. Serie A refs gonna Serie A ref.
- In a very sleepy stupor I thought to myself, “Mattia Caldara is on Venezia?!”
- Oh, and in case you’re wondering, Leonardo Bonucci also led Juventus in clearances and interceptions, so it wasn’t just his goals that helped secure the three points Sunday.
- Bonucci and Caldara on the same field but for opposite teams. Ah, memories.
- It was another frustrating day for Dusan Vlahovic and you could certainly tell that was the case when he was subbed off. He’s not getting a ton of service, he’s not really putting much on goal and it’s just been a grind ever since his hot start to his Juventus career. Maybe it’s a good thing Juve aren’t playing a ton of games right now because it looks like he might need a mental break more than anything else.
- I mean, you could have totally predicted that Venezia tying the game was going to happen, right? Venezia had dominated possession for the few minutes leading up to Mattia Aramu’s sweet strike and it just seemed to be written in the cards. It wasn’t a surprise — at all.
- Considering Juventus scored in the seventh minute, I can’t say I was expecting this team to rely on late-game heroics from their oldest player in the starting lineup Sunday. But hey, this is a Juventus season where logic has been thrown out the window months ago.
- Bright yellow jerseys + bright sun at Allianz Stadium = my eyes were struggling
- Now, if you will excuse me, I am going to bed because this game kicked off at 3:30 in the morning where I live and I am very tired.