Juventus may not be playing with any beauty, but they continue winning, with their latest triumph a 2-1 defeat of Sassuolo, who were second in Serie A ahead of the match.
Ronaldo finally scored, and that can only be a good thing. As well as easing the pressure, it means Juve can get back to playing for the team as opposed to only passing to one player in the hope he will score and be happy.
Douglas Costa’s dismissal and general behaviour were poor. He could have received a red card earlier, but after he was eventually sent off — for spitting in the face of Federico Di Francesco — he will be fined and face a suspension of several games going forward, including the showdown against Napoli on Sep. 29.
GK Wojciech Szczesny, 6 — Smooth sailing for the most part but forced to pull off a good save to deny Alfred Duncan.
DF Joao Cancelo, 7 — On a weekend that highlighted Inter’s absence of difference-makers, Cancelo showed his old club what they are missing. A tremendous performance by the Portuguese full-back, who fought, assisted, delivered brilliance, won duels and generally caused Sassuolo all kinds of trouble. Exactly what Allegri wants.
DF Leonardo Bonucci, 5 — Susceptibility to drops in concentration is a weakness that he must get rid of. He lost Khouma Babacar, and Juventus gave up a clean sheet.
DF Mehdi Benatia, 6 — Looks to be in good shape despite not playing regularly. Read the game well and proved more reliable than his partner.
DF Alex Sandro, 6 — Played with more caution than usual but read the game well. He did not push forward a great deal but ensured defensive solidity.
MF Sami Khedira, 6 — Does well initially as his footballing brain is a sight to behold, but his athleticism is not what it used to be and that became more evident as the game wore on as he’s simply too slow.
MF Emre Can, 6 — He impressed in his first Juventus start, delivering the assist that secured Ronaldo’s second goal. Can must learn to play with more composure and attention in this league, but will surely improve as he learns about Juve’s game.
MF Blaise Matuidi, 6 — The player who gives Juve balance, Matuidi fights constantly to win the ball and put his teammates into advantageous positions. He is always working to plug holes and trying to find ways to push himself forward.
FW Paulo Dybala, 6 — The definition of a phenomenon is not one who produces brilliance only in the right circumstances, but one who adapts to perform in every situation. As such, Dybala does not qualify despite his silky footwork and talent. He improved in the second half but failed to make an impact that brought about end results.
FW Mario Mandzukic, 5 — All action but little substance, he looked out of sorts and, perhaps, a little tired.
FW Cristiano Ronaldo, 7 — It finally happened. Ronaldo scored after a 320-minute wait and followed it up with another goal 15 minutes later. He is still yet to perform at optimum levels but is getting there and would have bagged a hat trick if he was a little more efficient.
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