Serie A Week 17 - 10 Jan 2021 (19.45 UK)
Juventus 3 - 1 Sassuolo
Danilo 51 (J), Defrel 58 (S), Ramsey 82 (J), Ronaldo 92 (J)
Allianz Stadium

Juventus were made to work very hard, as Danilo’s rocket and Aaron Ramsey eventually broke 10-man Sassuolo, despite Gregoire Defrel’s goal, before a last-gasp Cristiano Ronaldo strike.

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The Bianconeri were flying high after beating leaders Milan and had the opportunity to close on the top three with a game in hand. Matthijs de Ligt joined Alex Sandro and Juan Cuadrado in testing positive for COVID-19, with Alvaro Morata only fit for the bench, so Merih Demiral stepped in. Sassuolo missed captain Domenico Berardi, Filippo Romagna and Federico Ricci, with Jeremie Boga benched.

A towering Cristiano Ronaldo header landed on the roof of the net, then Gianluca Frabotta’s strike was deflected just over after an inspired Weston McKennie back-heel flick.

Leonardo Bonucci was fortunate that when he wrestled Ciccio Caputo back, there were other defenders in the vicinity and they were still quite a long way from goal, otherwise it could’ve been a red.

McKennie went off with a minor injury and Vlad Chiriches made a decisive block on Ronaldo, but as the game became increasingly frustrating for Juve, they also lost Dybala to a slight knee sprain.

The situation got even worse, as Chiesa was practically in tears after a very late Pedro Obiang tackle. VAR showed why, as Obiang caught him studs-up on the ankle and was shown a straight red card.

Juve had the chances to score just before half-time, but seemed determined to over-complicate things. First Demiral prodded it beyond Consigli, but also just beyond Ronaldo, who was unable to get there in time at the back post.

Then Aaron Ramsey sprung the offside trap and turned on-rushing Andrea Consigli, but rather than go for goal, he tried to set up Dejan Kulusevski for a bizarre lob over the empty net.

After the restart, Danilo broke the deadlock with an absolute missile of a strike. The poor clearance came to around 20 metres out and the Brazilian unleashed an unstoppable effort into the far bottom corner. Funnily enough, his last Serie A goal was also against Sassuolo.

However, the Bianconeri seemed to almost assume the job was done and were caught out by the 10 men of Sassuolo. It was a well-worked team passing move in the Neroverdi mould, Hamed Junior Traore’s through ball finding Gregoire Defrel, who took a touch to knock it between the centre-backs and at full stretch steered it past Wojciech Szczesny.

Suddenly, it was a different game and difficult to tell Sassuolo were down to 10. Ronaldo ran onto a Ramsey searching pass, but seemed frightened by Consigli rushing out and half-heartedly flicked it. Once they collided, it was Ronaldo who crashed into the goalkeeper, so not a penalty.

Chiesa came so close moments later, his finish clipping the base of the near post after great work from Kulusevski.

Kulusevski also created another huge opportunity out of nowhere, drawing defenders to him and swivelling his body to send Ronaldo clear, but the veteran was again timid and prodded it straight at Consigli.

Sassuolo refused to sit back and defend the point, so teenage debutant Brian Oddei had a shot charged down on the counter.

This inevitably made it a very open game and Juventus took their chance, as Frabotta got down the left and rolled a ball across the six-yard box, two Sassuolo players didn’t cut it out, but Ramsey tapped in at full stretch.

Sassuolo continued to push to the end, but Juve added a third with the last kick of the game. It was very route one, as Danilo's long ball from inside his own penalty area sent Ronaldo running for an angled drive.

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Juventus: Szczesny; Danilo, Bonucci, Demiral, Frabotta; Chiesa (Morata 86), Bentancur (Rabiot 46), Arthur, McKennie (Ramsey 19) (Bernardeschi 86); Dybala (Kulusevski 42), Ronaldo
Sassuolo: Consigli; Muldur (Oddei 72), Chiriches (Ayhan 86), Ferrari, Kyriakopoulos; Obiang, Locatelli; Defrel (Boga 68), Djuricic (Toljan 46), Traore; Caputo (Lopez 46)
Ref: Massa

Sent off: Obiang 45 (S)