Juventus earned a crucial victory against Udinese to keep themselves alive in the Serie A title race. Cristiano Ronaldo started 2021 in style as he blasted a strong finish into the bottom corner to give Juventus the lead in the first half. Andrea Pirlo's men, who next face AC Milan on Wednesday, are currently in 5th position with 27 points.
The Bianconeri were made to sweat by Udinese in the opening 30 minutes. Udinese pressed hard and had a Rodrigo de Paul goal disallowed because of a handball in the buildup. However, Juventus soon imposed themselves on the game as they dominated the ball and looked to carve out openings.
Cristiano Ronaldo once again provided the inspiration early in the second half. The Portuguese superstar played a wonderful pass into the path of Chiesa, who finished it with aplomb, to give Juventus a 2-0 lead.
Things soon got better for both Juventus and Cristiano Ronaldo as Rodrigo Bentancur's interception and intelligent pass set up the 5-time Ballon d'Or winner for an easy finish. Udinese did score a goal in the 89th minute but it proved to be nothing more than a compensation goal for Le Zebrette as Paulo Dybala added gloss to the scoreline by finishing off in clinical fashion in the 93rd minute.
With Cristiano Ronaldo and Juventus starting the year in perfect fashion, Andrea Pirlo will be hoping that his side continues performing the same way for the rest of the season.
Juventus Player Ratings:
Wojciech Szcezny - 6/10
The Polish goalkeeper had a quiet game as he was barely tested by the Udinese attackers. However, he could have done better to deny Udinese their late consolation goal
Danilo - 6.5/10
The Brazilian was back playing at his favoured right-back position. Although he did make some enterprising runs down the flank, his final ball sometimes let him down. He did, however, manage to grab an assist for Paulo Dybala's late goal.
Matthijs de Ligt - 7/10
The Dutch centre-back was calm and composed throughout for Juventus. He dealt with the pace of Kevin Lasagna very well and is slowly getting back to his best once again.
Leonardo Bonucci - 8/10
Bonucci showed his class once again as he put in a superb performance. The Italian CB organized the Juventus defense brilliantly and made a crucial clearance in the first half to deny Udinese's Pussetto.
Alex Sandro - 6/10
Given a license to roam forward by Andrea Pirlo, Alex Sandro seemed to have his crossing boots missing as he wasted plenty of opportunities to put good crosses in. The Brazilian was a willing runner though and worked hard for Juventus.
Rodrigo Bentancur - 8/10
The Uruguayan midfielder put in a typical combative performance. Bentancur made some snappy tackles and handled the threat of Rodrigo De Paul pretty well. He also got an assist when he set up Cristiano Ronaldo for his second goal.
Weston McKennie - 6/10
The American international had a decent game but looked slightly hurried on the ball on certain occasions. He was replaced by Arthur Melo in the 65th minute.
Aaron Ramsey - 7/10
The Wales international had a bright game and was unlucky not to get on the scoresheet in the second half. His intelligent runs and enterprising play caused the Udinese backline plenty of problems.
Federico Chiesa - 7.5/10
The Italian international started the game slowly but settled into it more and more as the game went on. He took his chance brilliantly and dovetailed well with Cristiano Ronaldo and Paulo Dybala in the second half.
Paulo Dybala - 8/10
This was one of the Argentine's best games this season. Dybala worked hard for the team and his efforts were rewarded with a well deserved goal late in the game. The Juventus 'number 10' was brilliant on the ball and kept things moving forward throughout the game.
Cristiano Ronaldo - 9/10
Cristiano Ronaldo is a phenomenon. The Portuguese superstar started off 2021 in fine fashion as he grabbed a brace and an assist to cap off a brilliant individual and team performance.
Cristiano Ronaldo looks determined to guide Juventus to another Serie A title.
Arthur - 6/10
The Brazilian kept possession of the ball well and played some neat passes.
Dejan Kulusevski - 5.5/10
The Swedish international made a rash challenge and could not impose himself much on the game after coming on in the 74th minute
Federico Bernardeschi - N/A
Giorgio Chiellini - N/A
Gianluca Frabotta - N/A
Published 04 Jan 2021, 03:53 IST