By 90Min
September 16, 2018

Cristiano Ronaldo finally opened his account for Juventus as Massimiliano Allegri's side continued their perfect start to the new Serie A campaign with a convincing 2-0 win over high-flyers Sassuolo.

Ronaldo finally had some luck on his side when, after a dismal performance in the first half, he stabbed home a rebounded effort from short distance just after half time, and looked to be playing with freedom as he drove the ball past Andrea Consigli for his second.

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Sassuolo did all they could to continue their phenomenal start to the season, but were ultimately second best in every area of the field. They struggled to create any real chances, but grabbed a late goal through substitute Khouma Babacar. The aftermath also saw Juventus's Douglas Costa shown a red card for elbowing and clearly spitting in the face of his opponent.


JUVENTUS


Key Talking Point


Massimiliano Allegri opted to field the trio of Cristiano Ronaldo, Paulo Dybala and Mario Mandzukic for the first time this season as he continues to search for the best way to utilise the trio. Unfortunately for Allegri, Sunday's game will have not helped his final decision.

Dybala, who has often been shunned in favour of Ronaldo, looked the most impressive of the three players. He looked a threat throughout, which cannot be said for Ronaldo, despite the latter netting his first two goals for the club in the second half.

MIGUEL MEDINA/GettyImages

Ronaldo's performance in the first half was shambolic, but his first goal clearly gave him some much-needed confidence and rescued his overall display. However, he could have easily netted at least two more goals, but missed several gilt-edged chances.


Player Ratings


Starting XI: Szczesny (6); Cancelo (7), Bonucci (6), Benatia (7), Alex Sandro (6); Khedira (7), Can (6), Matuidi (7); Dybala (7*), Ronaldo (7), Mandzukic (4).

Subs: Douglas Costa (6), Bentancur (6), Cuadrado (6).


STAR MAN - Paulo Dybala

Dybala has recently been the subject of transfer rumours after being forced to settle for a diminished role this season, but was by far Juventus's most impressive attacker on Sunday.

His link-up play with his teammates was fantastic, and he looked incredibly threatening on the ball. His agility and creativity was on show, and he will certainly have increased the pressure on Cristiano Ronaldo and Mario Mandzukic after this performance.

The Argentinian's display earned him a lot of praise, with fans on social media quick to give him the credit he deserved.

WORST PLAYER - Mario Mandzukic


With the spotlight on both Dybala and Ronaldo, Mandzukic was effectively a passenger in attack for Juventus. He was rarely involved for his side, and struggled to repay Allegri's faith in him, before being withdrawn after an hour.

However, at half time, Cristiano Ronaldo was a real candidate for this unwanted award.


SASSUOLO


Key Talking Point


Sassuolo's unbeaten start to the new season came to an end as they faced arguably the toughest test in Italian football - an away trip to the Allianz Stadium.

They showed glimpses of their preference to play a creative, possession-based style of football, but found themselves unable to cope with the sheer quality in Juventus's side. The defence often made mistakes in attempting to play with the ball at their feet, and the midfielders and forwards could not find a way past an impressive Juventus back line.

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However, they will not be too disappointed with the result, and will look to quickly move on from the result.


Player Ratings


Starting XI: Consigli (6); Lirola (6), Marlon (6), Ferrari (6), Rogerio (7); Duncan (7), Locatelli (6), Bourabia (6); Djuricic (6), Berardi (5), Boateng (7*).

Subs: Di Francesco (6), Dell'Orco (6), Babacar (6).


STAR MAN - Kevin-Prince Boateng


Boateng has been one of the standout performers in Serie A so far this season and, despite failing to find the back of the net, looked impressive once again.

He showcased several impressive flicks and tricks and easily looked like the most likely source of a goal for Sassuolo. He struggled against the resilient duo of Leonardo Bonucci and Mehdi Benatia, but certainly deserves credit for his determination and creativity. 

WORST PLAYER - Domenico Berardi

The highly-rated 24-year-old put in a disappointing display against an incredibly tough Juventus defence. Joao Cancelo completely dominated Berardi defensively, and the Italian failed to continue his hot start to the season.


Looking Ahead

Juventus will now be preparing for a Champions League tie with Valencia, before returning to Italy with a simple-looking tie against Frosinone. However, they will be without the suspended Douglas Costa, who could be facing an extended ban as a result of his actions.

Sassuolo will be keen to move on from a tough match and prepare themselves for the visit of Empoli next Friday, as they look to recover the momentum of their electric start to the season.

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