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Juventus 0-1 Benevento: 5 talking points as Ronaldo and Co. suffer shock defeat to struggling Benevento | Serie A 2020-21

Juventus v Benevento Calcio - Serie A
Juventus v Benevento Calcio - Serie A
ANALYST
Modified 21 Mar 2021
Feature

Juventus suffered just their second defeat in Serie A 2020-21 at the Allianz Stadium tonight as a well-drilled Benevento recorded a narrow 1-0 win against the wasteful hosts.

Adolfo Gaich scored the only goal of the game, thanks to a defensive howler from Arthur, who cluelessly kicked the ball into no man's land near the Juventus box which was chased down well by the on-loan CSKA Moscow striker.

Benevento managed to keep Juventus quiet for the first 45 minutes, who did not register their first shot on goal till the 33rd minute. Gli Stregoni had four shots in the first half but not even a single one was on target.

Cristiano Ronaldo's low-driven effort in the third minute breezed past the far post and he did not contribute much to the attack after that. Alvaro Morata came closest to opening the scoring but his shot was saved well by Lorenzo Montipò.

The visitors held their own very well before the break and did not allow Juventus to get into their groove despite the hosts having 72% possession in the first half.

The second half kicked off similarly, with the hosts dominating possession and the visitors relying on quick counters.

Juventus struggled to convert their chances and were punished in the 69th minute when the visitors capitalised on Arthur's stray pass. Gaich scored a remarkable goal from the edge of the box to give the visitors a well-deserved lead.

The hosts reacted with increased intensity but lacked the final touch in front of goal. By the final whistle they had managed 21 shots with seven of them on target, but thanks to Montipò's sharp reflexes they could not find the back of the net.

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Bianconeri's hopes of securing a 10th straight Serie A title suffered another blow tonight and they are now 10 points behind leaders Inter Milan with 11 games to go in the league.


#5 Federico Bernardeschi struggled to fit in at left-back

Federico Bernardeschi
Federico Bernardeschi

Juventus headed into the game with two of their main full-backs available. Juan Cuadrado was suspended, while left-back Alex Sandro was rested after picking up a muscle strain.

This forced Andrea Pirlo to play Federico Bernardeschi at left-back. The winger is suited to playing in the final third and when tasked with defensive duties tonight, he struggled to make timely tackles and interceptions.

Though his contribution in the final third was appreciable, he proved to be the weak link in the four-man defence, which Benevento exploited from time to time.


#4 Juventus need a set-piece specialist

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Juventus v Benevento Calcio - Serie A
Juventus v Benevento Calcio - Serie A

Juventus have found it difficult to generate goal-scoring chances from set-piece situations this season. Tonight, Leonardo Bonucci's headed effort from a corner kick in the first half was saved marvellously, while Ronaldo hit the wall again from a promising position.

Despite having as many as nine corners in the game, their only shot on target was Bonucci's first-half effort. Pirlo himself conceded earlier this month that set-pieces play an important role against hard-to-break defences and assured that Ronaldo is working on his free-kicks in training.

“Free-kick goals are important, they can decide games, especially against teams that sit deep.
“Ronaldo is training well and is improving. He is more serene and he is convinced he is soon going to score from a free kick.”

Well, as we saw in the game tonight with Paulo Dybala absent, there were no in-form dead-ball specialist sin the squad for the hosts. The inability to make corners and free-kicks count is hurting them a lot this season and that is something that needs to be worked out soon by Pirlo.


Also See: 10 highest-paid players in the Serie A this season (2020/21)

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Published 21 Mar 2021, 22:31 IST
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