Atalanta 2-2 Juventus: Cristiano Ronaldo rescues Juventus plus other takeaways from the match | Serie A 2018/19
Substitute Cristiano Ronaldo came off the bench to score a late equaliser in Bergamo, as 10-man Juventus fought back to draw 2-2 against Atalanta. Duvan Zapata's double looked like it would inflict the first defeat of the season in the league for the Old Lady especially after Rodrigo Bentancur was sent off for a second yellow card, but Cristiano Ronaldo headed in the equaliser to maintain Juventus' unbeaten run in the Serie A.
Here are five takeaways from the match:
#1 Cristiano Ronaldo is still Juventus’ main man
Several newspaper outlets had been quick to point out that Mario Mandzukic has been Juventus’ most decisive player this season, and that is perfectly correct. The Croatian had scored winning goals against Inter and Roma during the last two weeks to establish Juventus’ eight-point lead over Napoli.
However, with the Old Lady trailing 2-1 and a man down to Atalanta, Cristiano Ronaldo came off the bench to head in the equalising goal and preserve Juventus’ unbeaten record in Serie A.
#2 Napoli could cut the deficit at the top to 6 points
Juventus’ draw means that Napoli will have the chance to narrow the gap at the summit of Serie A when they play Inter at San Siro later in the evening. Carlo Ancelotti’s side are the most likely challengers to Juventus’ Scudetto ambitions.
#3 Third time in a row this fixture has seen a 2-2 draw
Juventus has been billed as favourites coming to this match and rightly so. But matches against Atalanta in Bergamo have not been straightforward for the Old Lady. This is now the third time in succession that Juventus have failed to pick maximum points from the Stadio Atleti Azzurri d'Italia in the league.
This was also Juventus’ second draw of the season after dropping points against Genoa earlier in the campaign.
#4 Allegri made far too many changes
Cristiano Ronaldo’s omission from the starting line-up was not the only big name missing in Massimiliano Allegri's squad. Miralem Pjanic’s absence from the first IX was also felt because Juventus massively missed his creativity in the first half.
His introduction shortly after Atalanta scored gave them a lift to play with more intensity. His set pieces caused havoc inside the penalty area. It was his corner kick which Ronaldo eventually bundled in with his head.
#5 Atalanta still struggling to match the last two seasons achievements
A point against the champions is always a great result. But Gian Piero Gasperini will feel his side should have taken all three points bearing in mind they played nearly half an hour against the 10-men of Juventus.
Atalanta are up to 8th in the table, but that could all change with other matches to be played in this round. Their ambitions of playing Europa League football have taken a dent and will need to return to winning ways as quickly as possible.