Juventus increased their Serie A lead to eight points with a narrow 2-1 win over Lazio. Cristiano Ronaldo’s quick second-half brace helped Maurizio Sarri’s men earn an important victory, though there were nervy moments for them to endure during an action-packed affair. How did players individually fare in Turin?
Both sides hit the woodwork in a slow-burning first-half, before the game burst into life after the restart.
Alex Sandro headed an effort onto the post from close-range from an inswinging free-kick, before the division’s leading goalscorer Ciro Immobile was inches away from breaking the deadlock at the other end just before half-time.
Neither side made changes at the break, though Manuel Lazzari was forced into an important goalline clearance just moments after the restart.
Paulo Dybala, then Ronaldo, attempted to squeeze close-range efforts goalwards but the midfielder was alert in slamming the ball away to safety. That proved a false dawn.
Less than ten minutes later, Lazio had a two-goal deficit to overturn and Juve’s chance creation dominance had finally begun to show itself on the scoresheet.
Ronaldo saw a shot crash off Bastos – which originally appeared to be on the edge of the box. After a lengthy VAR review, referee Daniele Orsato pointed to the spot.
The 35-year-old made no mistake from twelve yards, firing low and hard beyond goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha to break the deadlock.
Two minutes later, he wheeled away to celebrate again and this time had Dybala’s unselfishness to thank – the Argentine teed him up with a tap-in after dispossessing Luiz Felipe.
Lazio were increasingly lethargic but to their credit, didn’t give up. Instead, they were gifted a late lifeline after tireless work from Immobile helped them earn a penalty.
Leonardo Bonucci panicked under pressure, expecting Wojciech Szczesny to rush out and claim the loose ball, so instead clattered the striker with a lazy stray leg in the box. Just like Ronaldo, he was razor-sharp from the spot to halve the deficit.
It could have been much worse for Juventus, too. Sergej Milinkovic-Savic came close with an excellent free-kick strike, before Bonucci needed to make a last-ditch sliding intervention to deny the probing run of late sub and debutant Raul Moro.
Without further ado, here’s how the players individually rated from a frenetic affair in Turin which all but secures another Scudetto for The Old Lady:
Wojciech Szczesny (Goalkeeper): 6.5/10
Didn’t really have much to do for sustained periods, could count himself unlucky not to save Immobile’s low driving penalty late on but made a big stop to thwart Milinkovic-Savic’s free-kick from range.
The evergreen Gianluigi Buffon, watching on from the sidelines, probably wouldn’t have saved it. Quietly dependable as ever.
Juan Cuadrado: 7/10
Again starting in a sort of right wing-back role, the experienced Colombian relished the opportunity to welcome Djavan Anderson on his first Serie A start to date.
Winning 12 of 16 ground duels rather emphasises the manner in which their battles largely went, while he made four tackles, three successful dribbles and completed two clearances too.
Showed smart game-management in the latter stages after Danilo’s introduction, winning fouls (5) high up the pitch to take the wind out of Lazio’s sails.
Matthijs de Ligt: 6.5/10
de Ligt wasn’t as busy as centre-back partner Bonucci over the 90 minutes, but the Dutch international showed a capability to create chances while offering himself as an additional option in the area whenever Juventus ventured forward.
It was his cushioned side-foot pass that set up Sandro in the area early on, and the 20-year-old was unlucky not to have created his second assist since last month’s resumption after great improvisation from Dybala’s inswinging free-kick.
Tidy in possession (44 passes, 95% completion) with a tackle and interception to boot, this represented a solid all-round outing for a big-money youngster that has been quietly going about his business in recent months.
Leonardo Bonucci: 6/10
This was certainly an eventful game for the Juventus captain, who will miss their next fixture away at Udinese on Thursday through a yellow card suspension.
It started in promising fashion, as he made a big interception to thwart Caicedo’s goalbound effort after Immobile’s clever reverse through ball pass into the six-yard box. The evening could have ended in frustration and two points dropped though.
He was slow to apply on-ball pressure when Immobile was baring down on goal in the first-half, while his mistake in the area gifted Lazio a route back into the game.
Immobile’s tireless effort and obvious goal threat made him a nuisance throughout, but Bonucci – 33 and with over 350 Serie A appearances – should have reacted better under pressure in the box.
Instead, the Juventus centre-back blamed the incident on Szczesny, rather than take accountability for his indecisiveness and poor decision-making.
You could argue he made up for it with a brave and necessary sliding challenge in stoppage-time while on a booking, but this display didn’t exude confidence at the heart of a Juventus backline that looks far from impenetrable this term.
Alex Sandro: 5/10
As mentioned, the Juventus fullback hit the post after 11 minutes as the league leaders were firmly on top.
However, that was his highlight of an evening where the 29-year-old struggled defensively – as he tends to do – and needed help from his midfield teammates tracking back.
Made two interceptions and a block, but won just two of his eight duels contested and was dribbled past on three separate occasions.
Booked for a sliding challenge on Lazzari just before the hour mark and could have no real complaints, either.
Aaron Ramsey: 6.5/10
When Lazio had possession, Ramsey was typically rather pedestrian.
However, he showed good awareness and positioning to regularly make penetrating forward runs that became synonymous during his time at Arsenal.
Was unfortunate that Ronaldo didn’t latch onto his hopeful ball after some promising build-up play, while having an effort blocked in the first-half as he continued probing in-and-around the area where possible.
Faded before being replaced ten minutes into the second-half, having been on the receiving end of two late challenges in quick succession by Cataldi, then Parolo.
Rodrigo Bentancur: 6.5/10
Only Luiz Felipe (62, 89.9% success) had more passes than Bentancur’s 58 (87.9% completion) as the Uruguayan – just like Rabiot – needed to show steely determination to help Juventus get out of precarious situations at times here.
He did so while maintaining his pass-first attitude, though would have felt more freedom with a bonafide ball-winner like Matuidi alongside him.
Completing two key passes and winning four of his eight duels, this was a decent display by a player still ironing out deficiencies that form part of his game as a midfielder in Sarri’s 4-3-3 system.
Was dribbled past twice and played a significant role in the build-up before Immobile struck the post, so is suitably downgraded.
Adrien Rabiot: 7/10
He took some time to get warm but, to his credit, Rabiot created a promising chance out of nothing with a slaloming solo run from his own half – forcing Strakosha into an important save, high at his near post.
Earned more success in the final third than Ramsey, while winning eight of 13 duels, making three clearances and two tackles over the 90 minutes.
Didn’t drift through the game as he tends to, instead the heavily-scrutinised Juventus midfielder was energised as the match wore on and kept possession well to see out a slender victory.
Douglas Costa: 7/10
Costa forced Strakosha into his first save of the evening from distance early on and you could see the winger regularly drifting infield to try and create chances.
It was admirable at times where he’d have limited support or no forward movement in-behind, so instead he felt obliged to go it alone and didn’t struggle either.
Completed two dribbles and made two key passes (91.7% accuracy, 33 passes made) before being replaced by Juventus fullback Danilo before the hour mark.
Cristiano Ronaldo: 8/10
Ronaldo, who else, was Juventus’ matchwinner here. He netted a quick-fire brace and became the first player to score 50 goals in Premier League, La Liga and Serie A – an impressive achievement that he’ll undoubtedly be proud of.
However, the Juventus man momentarily overtook Immobile in the Capocannoniere race and could have earned a comfortable lead with more goals.
He missed three big chances and ever the perfectionist, was visibly frustrated when squandering clear-cut header opportunities – hitting the woodwork – and flashing efforts narrowly wide after good link-up play by Dybala.
Paulo Dybala: 8.5/10 – Man of the Match
Dybala oozed class throughout. The Argentine showed flashes of his individual brilliance in tight spaces while constantly looking to link midfield with attack in transition, despite Lazio’s attempts to force him off-ball.
They couldn’t handle him. Brilliant in duels, the Juventus man relished opposition pressure, evading their challenges with ease at times to create chances galore.
He was unselfish to tee up Ronaldo alongside him, doubling their lead on the counter-attack, having effortlessly dispossessed Felipe high up the pitch.
Skipping past Bastos as though he wasn’t even there, he curled a cross to the back post and watched Ronaldo head onto the crossbar.
The icing on the cake for him during a fantastic display would have been a goal: he latched onto Bonucci’s defence-splitting long pass with a great first touch, but could only forced Strakosha into an outstretched leg stop from close-range.
To think, his compatriot Gonzalo Higuain – injured in the warm-up – was supposed to start ahead of him… how different this game might have turned out to be.
Blaise Matuidi: 6/10
As ever, the experienced World Cup winner provided energy and guile when he came on – probably was disappointed not to start and played with that urgency.
Made an important headed clearance as Lazio searched for a late equaliser, before being booked moments later after emerging second-best in a challenge.
Daniele Rugani: N/A
Not enough time for the Juventus centre-back to earn a fair rating.
Thomas Strakosha (Goalkeeper): 7/10
Strakosha had to make a handful of saves to keep Dybala, Ronaldo and co at bay.
His best of the evening was late on from Dybala’s close-range shot, though he was alert throughout – otherwise Rabiot’s solo strike would have caught him out.
As for the goals, there was nothing he could have done to save either. Ronaldo’s penalty record is ridiculous and no defensive support meant he was in a stick-or-twist situation with both the Portuguese and Dybala baring down on goal.
The Angola international was crucially caught ball-watching on multiple occasions from corners as Ronaldo lurked dangerously and almost broke the deadlock.
Luckily, he was let off the hook – but should have defended set-pieces better or asked another teammate to specifically man-mark Ronaldo instead, because he continued struggling into the second-half.
That’s where his poor positioning and spatial awareness came to the fore. Although unfortunate to have given away a penalty for handball, he made just three defensive interventions throughout the 90 minutes.
He won just two of nine duels and committed four fouls, allowing the likes of Dybala and Rabiot opportunities to roam freely as they pleased down his side.
His defending, or lack thereof, was tough to watch.
Luiz Felipe: 6/10
The Brazilian made an important sliding block and defensive intervention to deny Ramsey after 20 minutes as the Welshman latched onto Rabiot’s pass in the area.
That was as good as it got for the 23-year-old, who was kept busy throughout and ultimately wilted under constant Juventus pressure.
He made four blocks, two tackles, an interception and clearance but his indecisiveness in possession allowed Dybala to pick his pocket high up the pitch.
Before he knew it, they were two goals behind.
Francesco Acerbi: 7/10
Lazio’s best defender, Acerbi importantly didn’t waver or wilt in spectacular fashion like his other defensive teammates during a frenetic second-half.
Completing two tackles and interceptions, he was fouled on four occasions, won seven of 10 duels contested while displaying his impressive distribution from deep.
Connected with 12 of his 14 attempted long balls, while maintaining 88.7% pass completion over the 90 minutes. Might have been a different game, if Bastos had his composure.
Manuel Lazzari: 7/10
Made an important goalline clearance to hook a shot away to safety early in the second-half, which ultimately delayed the inevitable as Juventus raced into a two-goal cushion shortly afterwards.
That wasn’t his fault though: he won five of eight duels, was fouled three times, completed two tackles and a block with 89.7% pass completion before being replaced late on for fresh legs as Inzaghi pressed in search of an equaliser.
Sergej Milinkovic-Savic: 7/10
After a disappointing display against Sassuolo on July 11, the Serbia international has responded with good performances in back-to-back games since.
It’s not that long ago now that the 25-year-old was linked with a lucrative Premier League move and although not always involved here, the highly-rated midfielder showed flashes of his individual brilliance when called upon against Juventus.
He completed three successful dribbles, created two key passes, won 12 of 17 duels with one tackle and clearance while also being fouled thrice too.
This was a busy, effective display by a man growing in confidence after a topsy-turvy start to 2020.
Danilo Cataldi: 7/10
Cataldi watched his deflected effort curl narrowly wide of Szczesny’s far post after 16 minutes, following great link-up play by Felipe and Milinkovic-Savic to feed him on the edge of the area.
You could see him consciously trying to man-mark Dybala at times in the first-half, though the 25-year-old’s effective defensive work started diminishing as time wore on and he begun struggling to keep pace in one-on-one duels.
Unsurprisingly hooked after 75 minutes for Anderson, he made four interceptions, three tackles and a key pass during a busy evening’s work before being subbed.
Marco Parolo: 6.5/10
The captain drifted in-and-out of the game too often for my liking, though he also showed awareness and an eagerness to push his teammates further afield.
Picking Bentancur’s pocket in midfield saw him unleash the run of Immobile towards the edge of the area, where he watched in anguish as the well-struck shot cannoned back off the upright.
He made three interceptions, a handful of other defensive interventions and kept possession tidily (85.3%, one key pass) but this wasn’t a special display.
Djavan Anderson: 6/10
Making his first Lazio start, Anderson couldn’t have had much more of a tough test than against the determined and experienced figure of Cuadrado at wing-back.
He showed his pace and intelligence to get the better of him midway through the first-half, though a promising intricate move in the area was ultimately cleared to safety shortly afterwards.
Not exactly helped by his teammate with a heavy pass, a subsequent touch saw him over-extend and clatter into Bentancur – resulting in a first-half booking.
Much was discussed about Jordan Lukaku’s absence through disciplinary reasons here, as the Belgian was shown visibly sulking in the stands.
If he’s to earn an extended run in the side, Anderson needs to build on a display where he was overwhelmed at times before being replaced midway through the second-half.
Felipe Caicedo: 7/10
Caicedo did well to win his side a number of free-kicks (3), while dropping deep and displaying a capability to hold-up play.
You could see his determination to link-up with Immobile, which was easier said than done as both were lacking quality service on a consistent basis from the middle third.
However, he worked well and if half-a-step quicker, may have broken the deadlock before Bonucci’s timely block in the first-half. A decent display, nonetheless.
Ciro Immobile: 8/10
Worked tirelessly off-the-ball and showed an unselfish side to his game too, was unfortunate not to earn an assist for his invention after playing a clever reverse through ball into the box for strike partner Caicedo.
He hit the post with a sweetly-struck effort just before half-time, but his tireless workrate and endeavour ultimately paid dividends late on as Bonucci was penalised for a lazy foul in the box. He slammed it beyond Szczesny for his 30th Serie A goal of the campaign.
Denis Vavro: 6.5/10
Slotted in seamlessly at the back for Lazio, replacing Anderson in a smart tactical change as the visitors looked to get back into proceedings.
Didn’t really put a foot wrong – completing a block and clearance – though by the time he was introduced, Juventus just needed to protect their lead.
Bobby Adekanye: 6/10
It’s never a good sign when a substitute comes onto the pitch and you don’t notice their presence.
Dutch winger Adekanye, formerly of PSV and Liverpool, is still only 21 but will be hoping for more minutes as he acclimatises to Italian football.
He had a solid half-hour here but only had five touches and couldn’t impact the game as Lazio went in search of a late fightback.
André Anderson: 7/10
Speaking of spirited comebacks, Anderson was at the forefront of Lazio’s attacks late on.
The 20-year-old Italian, making his first appearance since a similarly effective cameo against Atalanta on June 24, forced Szczesny into an acrobatic stop from distance after outmuscling Cuadrado and caused Juventus problems.
Luca Falbo, Raul Moro: N/A
Both were making their Serie A debuts late on as Inzaghi’s last throw of the dice, though neither was able to impact the game – they didn’t have enough time to.
Mosope Ominiyi is a freelance sports journalist and sub-editor with over a decade's worth of experience, having graduated in 2020 with a BA Hons degree at Staffordshire University. His work has appeared in The Times, MailOnline and Sportskeeda, among other platforms.
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