Juventus 2-0 SPAL: Hits & Flops from the match | Serie A 2019/20
Juventus find themselves sitting pretty in second place as they pick up yet another Serie A win, thanks to SPAL. In all seriousness, SPAL did play well, especially in defense, but they were unable to halt the progress of the Turin giants who were playing on home turf.
Maurizio Sarri notably switched up his standard 4-3-3 formation for a narrow 4-1-2-1-2 that had Cristiano Ronaldo and Paulo Dybala in striking positions. Aaron Ramsey played in attacking midfield with Miralem Pjanic behind him. Pjanic was flanked by Adrien Rabiot and Sami Khedira both in central midfield positions. The backline was led by Leonardo Bonucci, with Matthijs de Ligt beside him. In wingback positions were Juan Cuadrado, right, and Blaise Matuidi. In goal, Gianluigi Buffon was the man in charge.
The Bianconeri's first goal came on the stroke of half-time with a daring Miralem Pjanic shot. A marauding Matuidi was found on the left-wing, but his in-swinging cross was parried out by the SPAL goalkeeper Etrit Berisha. The loose ball met Khedira who laid it on with a first-time pass to Pjanic. The 29-year-old's shot that curled past an outstretched Berisha and entered the left side of the goal.
The second goal finally came in the 78th minute when exciting wing play on the left distracted the Biancazzuri defence just enough for Paulo Dybala to receive a threaded through-pass down the flank. A cross from Dybala on the byline was towards Ronaldo's waiting head. Ronaldo's powerful header was unstoppable for Berisha, hitting the keeper on the way in.
SPAL never looked like winning the game, and their defense may have been strong, but it wasn't strong enough to stop a powerful and creative Juventus attack.
Let's take a look at three players who impressed and two players who performed poorly during the game:
#5 Hit - Miralem Pjanic
Pjanic was a vital cog in Maurizio Sarri's midfield. Making three key passes during the game, he kept up a strong passing accuracy of 91%. The 29-year-old also made 129 touches during the game, the most touches for any player on the field. Apart from this, Pjanic made 114 passes, also the highest from any individual player throughout the game.
He controlled the game in the middle of the park, finding his team members effectively, and helping to maintain the Bianconeri's stronghold on possession. He had a great game, and he would be glad to have topped it up with a sublime goal.