SERIE A MATCH REPORT

Serie A Week 24 - 16 Feb 2020 (14.00 UK)
Juventus 2 - 0 Brescia
Dybala 38 (J), Cuadrado 75 (J)
Allianz Stadium

Paulo Dybala’s free kick and a Juan Cuadrado effort allowed Juventus to beat 10-man Brescia, who lost their goalkeeper and saw Florian Aye sent off.

The Bianconeri were caught at the top of the table by Inter thanks to last week’s 2-1 defeat at Verona, with Lazio only one point behind, so the pressure was on to deliver.

Nonetheless, Cristiano Ronaldo was rested, with Douglas Costa, Federico Bernardeschi, Sami Khedira and Merih Demiral injured, but maintained the 4-3-3 formation with Juan Cuadrado. The Rondinelle under new coach Diego Lopez were forced into changes, as Jesse Joronen, Sandro Tonali, Romulo, Andrea Cistana, Ernesto Torregrossa and Daniele Gastaldello were injured.

To make matters even worse, Enrico Alfonso got an accidental knee to the head from Gonzalo Higuain when smothering a ball at his feet and had to come off, so third choice goalkeeper Lorenzo Antenacci made his Serie A debut just 10 minutes in.

Mario Balotelli’s free kick was off target and Cuadrado came sliding in unable to make the most of Paulo Dybala’s cross, while La Joya horribly scuffed Higuain’s assist from eight yards.

Birkir Bjarnason’s header also tested Wojciech Szczesny, but Brescia went down to 10 men thanks to a moment of madness from Florian Aye. He was already booked a few minutes earlier when he body-checked Aaron Ramsey on the edge of the box for a second yellow card.

On the resulting free kick, Dybala curled a typically majestic finish into the top corner to put Juventus into the lead.

The Bianconeri were in total control now, Dybala testing Antenacci with a fine volley on a long ball over the top, then Antenacci flew to punch Daniele Rugani’s header on to the underside of the bar from a free kick.

After the restart, Higuain’s angled drive had beaten the goalkeeper only for Sabelli to make a decisive goal-line clearance. On the resulting corner, Higuain’s header was well saved by Antenacci.

Bjarnason blasted over from the D after a poor clearance, but Juventus had bad news when Miralem Pjanic came on and then limped off again barely seven minutes later with a suspected groin strain.

His replacement, Blaise Matuidi, then contributed to Juve’s second goal. The Frenchman aided Cuadrado with a give-and-go on the edge of the area as the Colombian turned in at the near post.

Pjanic may have limped off, but this match did mark the comeback for Giorgio Chiellini, five months after his ACL surgery.

Rodrigo Bentancur’s scorcher from a long way out thumped the upright. Higuain had the ball in the net with a header, but had wandered offside on the free kick.

Dybala rattled the bar with the last kick of the game, sent through by Cuadrado.

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Juventus: Szczesny; Danilo, Rugani, Bonucci (Chiellini 78), Alex Sandro; Ramsey (Pjanic 66) (Matuidi 73), Bentancur, Rabiot; Cuadrado, Higuain, Dybala
Brescia: Alfonso (Antenacci 10); Sabelli, Mateju, Chancellor, Martella; Bisoli, Dessena, Bjarnason (Ndoj 80); Zmrhal (Skrabb 90); Aye, Balotelli
Ref: Chiffi

Sent off: Aye 37 (B)