SERIE A MATCH REPORT

Serie A Week 23 - content); ?>
Verona 2 - 1 Juventus
Ronaldo 65 (J), Borini 76 (V), Pazzini pen 86 (V)
Stadio Marc’Antonio Bentegodi

Verona caused a huge upset, as they fought back from a Cristiano Ronaldo solo strike to beat Juventus with Fabio Borini and Giampaolo Pazzini goals.

Hellas are now unbeaten in eight rounds, despite feeling tired from Wednesday’s rescheduled Week 17 fixture against Lazio, holding out for a 0-0 draw at the Olimpico. Sofyan Amrabat returned from suspension and Fabio Borini took an attacking role, while Juve opted for 4-3-3 with Douglas Costa, but Giorgio Chiellini, Merih Demiral, Danilo, Federico Bernardeschi and Sami Khedira missed out.

It was a very aggressive start from the hosts, as Wojciech Szczesny flew to fingertip a deflected Marco Davide Faraoni cross-shot over the bar, then on the resulting corner Matteo Pessina’s volley flashed just wide, with Amir Rrahmani attempting a back-heel flick at the far post.

Borini also drilled wide, but against the run of play, Juventus rattled the crossbar with a Douglas Costa solo effort out of nowhere at the end of a strong run.

Verona had the ball in the net moments later, when Miguel Veloso’s free kick was floated over the top and Marash Kumbulla only grazed it with his head, surprising Szczesny. However, the goal was disallowed using VAR, much to the chagrin of Kumbulla on his 20th birthday, as his shoulder was offside.

Verona continued to swarm around Juve and the visitors kept getting the best chances, as on 36 minutes Ronaldo’s right-foot curler from the edge of the box bounced off the far post.

CR7 went close again with a similar opportunity, this time wide, with the same fate befalling his acrobatic header on Douglas Costa’s cross.

After the restart, Higuain’s strike was charged down by Koray Gunter’s elbow, but his arm was across his chest. Verona then had penalty appeals for a desperate Cuadrado tackle on Zaccagni, as they both got to the ball at the same moment and collided.

The deadlock was eventually broken by Ronaldo just days after his 35th birthday, becoming the first Juventus player to score in 10 consecutive Serie A games. He started the run from his own half on Paulo Dybala’s pass, completed a give-and-go with Rodrigo Bentancur, sprinted forward, held off Amir Rrahmani and managed to squeeze the right-foot snooker shot into the bottom corner.

Another veteran came off the bench, Giampaolo Pazzini, who immediately tested Szczesny with a glancing header, then Dybala tried and failed to dribble past Kumbulla in the box.

Verona got back on level terms thanks to their high press, forcing Bentancur and Miralem Pjanic into errors, so Borini swept it into the far bottom corner off the inside of his right boot.

Pazzini made a decisive contribution, as he flicked on a long ball for Borini, whose shot was deflected off Bonucci to go wide. On the resulting corner, Kumbulla’s header was deflected on to the crossbar by Bonucci’s raised arm. After viewing it on the VAR on-field monitor, the referee had to award a penalty, which Pazzini coolly converted.

Hellas had turned it all around in 10 minutes, so Juventus laid siege to the Verona box for the rest of the game, but failed to really test Marco Silvestri.

Verona had beaten Juventus only once since April 2000, a 2-1 result at the Bentegodi in May 2016, along with three draws (all of them 2-2 at home) and 11 defeats.

See the latest Serie A predictions and betting tips with Eurotips.co.uk


Verona: Silvestri; Rrahmani, Kumbulla, Gunter; Faraoni, Amrabat, Veloso (Verre 58), Lazovic (Dimarco 79); Pessina, Zaccagni (Pazzini 69); Borini
Juventus: Szczesny; Cuadrado, De Ligt, Bonucci, Alex Sandro; Bentancur (De Sciglio 82), Pjanic, Rabiot; Douglas Costa (Ramsey 72), Higuain (Dybala 59), Ronaldo
Ref: Massa