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Juventus keep slim title hopes alive after 3-0 thrashing of Crotone

Juventus beat Crotone 3-0 in the Serie A.
Juventus beat Crotone 3-0 in the Serie A.
ANALYST
Modified 23 Feb 2021
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Juventus returned to winning ways in the 2020-21 Serie A after coasting to a facile 3-0 win against Crotone on Monday. After losing their last two games, the Bianconeri put up a better performance against Crotone.

A brace from Cristiano Ronaldo and a strike from Weston McKennie in the second half secured all three points for Juventus, who are currently third in the league table.

Despite seeing his side score thrice against Crotone, Andrea Pirlo will be worried by his side’s lack of zeal and character. The Bianconeri offered very little going forward and largely depended on individual brilliance to win the game.

In a week where AC Milan dropped points after losing to rivals Inter Milan, Juventus’ win over Crotone comes as welcome news. However, their performance needs to get better if they hope to retain their league title.

Juventus are still overdependent on Cristiano Ronaldo

Before Cristiano Ronaldo stepped up to bail them out, Juventus were labouring to create anything meaningful in front of goal. Federico Chiesa, Rodrigo Bentancur and McKennie offered very little going forward.

The Portuguese, however, headed the Old Lady in front in the 38th minute before making it 2-0 right before half-time. Despite turning 36 recently, Cristiano Ronaldo is still the talisman of the team and continues to be their go-to man. But it shouldn’t be so at a team like Juventus.

This is a team filled with too many talented players who are grossly underperforming. It is bad enough that they aren’t getting the needed results on the pitch. To become a one-man team would definitely make matters worse, as Cristiano Ronaldo is now in the twilight of his career.

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Unfortunately, though, Juventus’ overdependence on Ronaldo appears to be growing with each passing week, and Monday’s win against Crotone was the latest evidence.

Juventus maintain slim title hopes

The 2020-21 Serie A title race is turning out to be a three-horse one, although both Inter Milan and AC Milan hold a healthy lead over the defending champions.

However, with their win over Crotone, Juventus have given themselves a slim chance of getting back into contention. The Bianconeri are now eight points behind Inter Milan and four behind AC Milan but have a game in hand on both teams.

“We made a nervous start, possibly because of recent matches, but our two goals calmed us down, and we were then able to manage the game well,” Pirlo said of his side’s performance against Crotone, as quoted by Juventus.com.
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“It certainly wasn’t our best start: our passing was sloppy, partly due to rushing and partly due to our desire to score an early goal. In any case, it was important to get the three points this evening. We must try to improve our movement,” Pirlo observed.

The two Milan clubs have appeared to be formidable contenders for the title. But all is not lost for Juventus, who could still make it an enthralling title race.

Published 23 Feb 2021, 18:12 IST
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