Juventus re-staked their claim in the title race on Saturday evening, fighting back from an early mistake to earn a 3-1 victory over SS Lazio in Turin.
I Biancocelesti took the lead on 14 minutes, when Joaquin Correa latched onto a wayward Juve pass, turned Merih Demiral inside out and fired inside Wojciech Szczesny’s near post. The Old Lady restored parity just before the break through an unlikely source, as Adrien Rabiot brilliantly powered a devastating strike into the roof of Pepe Reina’s net from a tight angle.
The second half kicked off at a ferocious pace, with Federico Chiesa forcing a smart save from Reina and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic hitting the crossbar with a flicked header. Juve stunned Lazio to poke their noses in front with a lightning breakaway on 57 minutes, which Alvaro Morata rounded off with a clinical finish.
And only a minute later, the game swung completely in the hosts’ favour, when I Bianconeri were awarded a penalty after Aaron Ramsey was tripped in the box by Milinkovic-Savic. Morata stepped up and calmly stroked the ball into Reina’s left corner, and Juve had their two-goal cushion.
The hosts controlled the game from that moment on, and saw out the 3-1 lead to claim all three points.
Let’s dive into the player ratings from an exciting evening at the Allianz.
Wojciech Szczesny (GK) – 6/10 – Left hopelessly exposed for the opener, but made a smart save to deny Milinkovic-Savic soon after. Parried Fares’ fierce effort, too.
Juan Cuadrado (RB) – 7/10 – Got away with a horrible mistake after mis-controlling the ball in his own half. Constantly outnumbered as Lazio overloaded his flank. Subbed on 70 minutes.
Merih Demiral (CB) – 6/10 – Put in a sticky position by Kulusevski to stop Correa, and did his best impression of a training cone when jockeying the forward. Other than that, not bad.
Alex Sandro (CB) – 7/10 – Had less to do as Lazio focused on the right flank, but played out nicely with the ball at his feet. Growing into a versatile player for Andrea Pirlo.
Federico Bernardeschi (LB) – 8/10 – Not his favoured position, but considering how bad he’s been going forward lately, sticking him further back wasn’t such a bad idea. Extremely steady and competent in that position, however. Nicely done.
Adrien Rabiot (CM) – 7/10 – What a finish! Steadied himself and buried his chance, blasting beyond Reina at his near post. Much needed for a player who too often flatters to deceive.
Danilo (CM) – 6/10 – Deployed as a holding midfielder, trying to protect the backline from Lazio’s dangerous counter-attacks. Not his best position, that’s for sure, but he didn’t do a bad job of shielding and getting his team moving.
Aaron Ramsey (CM) – 7/10 – Worked himself a nice shooting angle in the first half, but scuffed his curler wide of the target. Drew the penalty which effectively killed the game. Clever play.
Dejan Kulusevski (RW) – 6/10 – Gave away a dangerous free-kick on the edge of Juve’s box early in the first half. Played a blind pass to hand Lazio possession for Correa’s opener.
Alvaro Morata (ST) – 9/10 – Flicked a header just wide of the post. Should have done better. Played a cute ball through to Rabiot, who hammered home the equaliser. Bashed a brilliant finish beyond Reina for 2-1. That’s a striker’s finish. Tucked away the spot-kick. Subbed soon after. Job done.
Federico Chiesa (LW) – 8/10 – Full of running, and never afraid to take on his man. A bundle of energy and aggression. Exploded in the second half, pulling off an incredible turn on the ball and almost putting Juve ahead with his drilled strike. Drove his side forward to assist the second. Brilliant.
Cristiano Ronaldo (ST) – 6/10
Arthur Melo (CM) – 6/10
Weston McKennie (CM) – 6/10
Leonardo Bonucci (CB) – 6/10
Alessandro Di Pardo (RM) – N/A