By 90Min
September 24, 2019

Juventus defeated Brescia 2-1 on Tuesday night, coming away with all three points despite a relatively flat performance at Stadio Mario Rigamonti.

Brescia were energetic from the off and took a surprise lead through Alfredo Donnarumma's fourth-minute rocket. An off-guard Wojciech Szczesny should have done better, despite the ball's slight movement in the air. 

Juventus were lifeless in the first half but given a lifeline through another moment of poor goalkeeping - this time from Brescia's Jesse Joronen. The goalkeeper failed to connect with Paulo Dybala's 40th minute corner, his punch flicking off Jhon Chancellor and into the net to make it 1-1 at half time.

On a night when victory would see them leapfrog Inter to top the Serie A table, the Old Lady were worryingly flat in the opening 45 minutes. They upped the tempo in the second half and Miralem Pjanic put them ahead on 63 minutes, catching the rebound from Dybala's blocked free kick sweetly.

Both sides had chances in the final half an hour, with the Brescia faithful driving their team on from the stands. As is often a sign of title-winning team, Juventus were able to dig in and head back to Turin with all three points. 

Here's 90min's breakdown of the game below.


Brescia

Player Ratings


Starting XI: 
Joronen (6); Sabelli (6), Cistana (6), Chancellor (7), Mateju (5); Bisoli (6), Tonali (8*), Orestes Caldeira (6), Dessena (7); Balotelli (7), Donnarumma (7)


Substitutes: Matri (6), Martella, (5), Aye (5)


Juventus

Key Talking Point

Cristiano Ronaldo - the man who makes all the headlines, even when he's not playing. Much of the pre-match talk was about the Portuguese superstar, who was rested with an adductor complaint. 

Maurizio Sarri opted for a midfield diamond in his absence, with Aaron Ramsey operating just behind Paulo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain. The system's lack of width played into a narrow Brescia's hands, with lots of Juventus' first-half attacking play coming through a congested central area.

The signs should have been there for Sarri, as the 19th minute introduction of Juan Cuadrado highlighted just how much space Juventus were being afforded in the wide areas. The Colombian replaced the injured Danilo at right back, finding himself in acres of space as he marauded forward.

Sarri is known for his stubbornness and there was no plan B on the night, they simply persisted to drive towards the centre of Brescia's defence. Their quality got them over the line but against a better team, such inability to change the shape during the 90 minutes could cost Juventus.


Player Ratings

Starting XI: Szczesny (5); Danilo (5), de Ligt (6), Bonucci (7), Alex Sandro (6); Pjanic (7), Khedira (6), Rabiot (6), Ramsey (8); Higuaín (7), Dybala (9*)

Substitutes: Cuadrado (7), Bernardeschi (6), Matuidi (5)


STAR MAN: 


The congestion in the middle of the pitch might have highlighted Sarri's tactical stubbornness, but it also put a spotlight on Paulo Dybala's intelligence.


With his flair, trickery and ability to find space at all times, he was like an A-list actor supported by a distinctly B-list cast. Juventus only looked like scoring when the Argentine maestro was pulling the strings - although Aaron Ramsey would have been a shoo-in for best supporting role.

He won and took the corner that led to the equaliser and did exactly the same for the free kick, albeit it was blocked by the wall before Pjanic converted. On another night he would have grabbed another assist, but the Adrien Rabiot shot that resulted from his driving run and cross was brilliantly blocked by Chancellor. 

The only negative note was Dybala's withdrawal with ten minutes to go, after it appeared he was struggling with cramp. Juventus fans will be hopeful it's nothing more, especially with some big games on the horizon. 


Looking Ahead

Juventus face SPAL at home before a potential top of the table clash away to Inter. Sandwiched between these Serie A matches is Bayer Leverkusen's visit to the Allianz Stadium in the Champions League group stage.

It doesn't get any easier for Brescia, an away day at Napoli awaits before home fixtures with Sassuolo and Fiorentina.

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