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Cagliari 2-0 Juventus: 5 talking points as Bianconeri suffer shock loss away from home | Serie A 2019-20

Cristiano Ronaldo in action against Cagliari Calcio
Cristiano Ronaldo in action against Cagliari Calcio
Elvis Ume O
ANALYST
Modified 30 Jul 2020, 05:58 IST
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The penultimate matchday of the 2019-20 Serie A campaign was concluded at the Sardegna Arena, with Cagliari recording a 2-0 victory over champions Juventus.

With the league title wrapped up, Maurizio Sarri took the opportunity to rotate his squad. Non-regulars like Gianluigi Buffon, Danielle Rugani, and Simone Muratore were all handed starts, although the starting lineup had established superstars like Gonzalo Higuain, Cristiano Ronaldo, and the Barcelona-bound Miralem Pjanic.

The visitors expectedly started brightly and forced Alessio Cragno into some saves in the early minutes. However, the hosts broke the deadlock against the run of play when Luca Gagliano rounded up a brilliant team move with a left-footed strike in the box.

The hosts defended commendably well
The hosts defended commendably well

Cristiano Ronaldo put the ball in the back of the net soon after but was rightly pulled up for offside and Juventus continued to mount pressure for the rest of the half. They could not find the back of the net, and in similar circumstances to the first, Cagliari got a second goal from nothing.

They won the ball high up the field and quickly turned defence into attack. A long ball from midfield found Giovanne Simeone on the edge of the box. The Argentine then controlled perfectly to beat Leonardo Bonucci before firing past Gianluigi Buffon, although the Juventus keeper should arguably have done better.

Cagliari started on the front foot in the second half and fashioned two chances in quick succession, with Joao Pedro shooting narrowly wide, while Simone on the volley forced Buffon into a fine save.

It was a frustrating outing for the record Italian champions
It was a frustrating outing for the record Italian champions

As the game progressed, Walter Zenga's men became content to sit deeply and invite pressure from their more illustrious opponents. For all the possession enjoyed by Juventus, they could not find a way to break down the Cagliari defence and resorted to taking harmless shots from distance.

Up next for them would be the visit of AS Roma, while Cagliari would travel to the San Siro to take on the in-form AC Milan. Here, we take a look at five talking points from the fixture.

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#5 Juventus end campaign with away-day blues

Sarri failed to win any of his last four away league fixtures
Sarri failed to win any of his last four away league fixtures

This visit to Cagliari was Juventus' final away game of the season and having lost to Udinese in their previous away game, the Bianconeri would have sought to end their campaign on a high.

The hosts, however, had other ideas and plotted a victory. It also means the Italian champions failed to get a win in any of their final four away fixtures, with a 3-3 draw with Sassuolo being the only point picked up from a possible 12.


#4 Cagliari get back to winning ways

Cagliari Calcio ended their nine-game winless run
Cagliari Calcio ended their nine-game winless run

Cagliari were one of the surprise teams at the start of the campaign, with a 13-game unbeaten run seeing them soar up the table and tipped as potential dark horses for European qualification. Things, however, unravelled at midway through the campaign to see them spiral down the table and the Sardinians continued their poor run of form post-lockdown.

They came into this fixture with a wretched record of going nine games without a victory and few, if any, would have given them a chance of getting anything from the perennial champions.

As it happened, the form book was thrown to the cleaners and Cagliari put up a gritty display to get back to winning ways at the expense of their more accomplished opponents. It also happened to be their first win over Juventus since 2009, which might be enough to keep Walter Zenga in his job at least for the near future.

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Published 30 Jul 2020, 05:56 IST
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