Juventus restored their nine-point advantage at the top of Serie A following a comfortable 3-0 victory over bottom side Chievo on Monday evening.
First half goals from Douglas Costa and Emre Can opened up a sizeable advantage for the home side, who saw a Cristiano Ronaldo penalty saved early during the second period. With just a few minutes remaining, a Daniele Rugani header sealed three points for the Old Lady and put them firmly on course for their eighth straight Scudetto.
After a positive start from Chievo, it was the Old Lady that broke the deadlock after just 13 minutes following a stunning solo effort. Douglas Costa picked the ball up on the half-way line and, driving forward, skipped past two Chievo defenders before firing a superb shot across the keeper from 25 yards out that nestled into the far corner.
Following the opener, Juve controlled much of the possession and could have gone further ahead but for Stefano Sorrentino in the Chievo goal, who made smart stops to keep Cristiano Ronaldo and Federico Bernadeschi at bay.
On the stroke of half-time Juventus doubled their advantage after some more individual brilliance. Paulo Dybala picked the ball up about 30 yards out before dropping his shoulder, beating two defenders before slipping a perfectly weighted through ball to Emre Can who cooly finished into the bottom right corner.
Just six minutes into the second half, Ronaldo and Juventus were presented with a golden opportunity to further extend their lead when the referee awarded a soft penalty. A thunderous Costa shot cannoned into a Chievo hand from just a couple of yards away, but the referee was in no doubt and pointed to the spot.
Up stepped Ronaldo, but the ex-Real forward saw his penalty saved following Sorrentino's superb outstretched hand, which turned the ball round the post and kept the arrears down to two for the away side.
If there was any doubt about the result, Juventus sealed the victory seven minutes from time. After a free-kick from a wide area was delivered by Bernadeschi, Daniele Rugani rose highest at the far post and planted his header firmly across the keeper to wrap up the three points.
Key Talking Point
With this clash composing of the top and bottom sides in Serie A, it was suggested prior to kick-off that Juventus would only falter if they overlooked the challenge of Chievo with a big away game at Lazio on Sunday. However, Massimiliano Allegri refused to allow any complacency with his side setting the tone for the match inside the opening 15 minutes.
Juve made a fast start with Costa netting a fine solo goal, and the home side continued to come forward in waves as they looked to increase their advantage. It looks as if Juventus have one hand on the Scudetto already as they attempt to win the trophy for an eighth consecutive time.
Starting XI: Perin (6); De Sciglio (7), Rugani (6), Chiellini (6), Sandro (6); Bernadeschi (7), Can (7), Matuidi (6), Costa (7); Dybala (8*), Ronaldo (5).
Substitutes: Bentancur (6), Spinazzola (N/A), Kean (N/A)
STAR MAN - There were a number of excellent displays from the home side, with Dybala, Costa and Bernadeschi all impressing. However, it was the Argentine Dybala that shone brightest. Throughout the evening he showed real class on the ball, exemplified by his delightful assist for Can's goal.
imagine ever questioning the class & quality of Dybala; imagine.— Ahmed (@azkhawaja1) January 21, 2019
WORST PLAYER - Surprisingly, it was Cristiano Ronaldo that endured a particularly poor night for Juventus. The five-time Ballon d'Or winner gave the ball away of number of times and seemed to frequently make the wrong decision in the final third.
To add to his misery, Ronaldo missed a second-half penalty in what was a night to forget for the Portuguese international.
Ronaldo disasterclass, while Dybala is balling. 💉💉💉— griffin (@Starboy___10) January 21, 2019
Key Talking Point
With Chievo staring relegation in the face, anything they picked up at Allianz Stadium tonight would have been a huge bonus. Although their work rate cannot be in question, I Gialloblu displayed a real lack of any cutting edge, a problem that has plagued them all season being the division's second lowest scorers.
Although their fight for survival won't be decided on games against the likes of Juventus, Chievo must improve in their upcoming season-defining fixtures against Empoli and Udinese.
Starting XI: Sorrentino (7); Depaoli (5), Tomovic (6), Rossetini (5), Bani (5); Radovanovic (6), Hetemaj (6), Kiyine (6), Giaccherini (7*); Pellissier (6), Meggiorini (5).
Substitutes: Vignato (6), Stepinski (6), Jaroszynski (5).
Juventus return to action on Sunday evening as they play what could prove to be a difficult away game at sixth placed Lazio.
Bottom side Chievo will host Fiorentina on Sunday morning, desperate for three points that would edge them marginally closer to safety.