Serie A champions Juventus scored late on to snatch a 1-1 draw against neighbours Torino in the Derby Della Mole on Friday night, making it two games without a win since picking up their eighth consecutive Scudetto against Fiorentina a fortnight ago.
A Sasa Lukic strike after 18 minutes looked to have secured the points for the away side but once again Cristiano Ronaldo was able to rescue his side with an 84th minute header to preserve their unbeaten campaign at home in the league this season.
Key Talking Point
The mix-up between Joao Cancelo and Miralem Pjanic which led to the Torino goal was indicative of a Juventus side who have taken their foot off the gas since landing the title.
What should have been a simple throw-in ended up with Pjanic under all sorts of pressure from goalscorer Lukic, but the Bosnian international could have been stronger in holding off the Torino man who was able to brush him aside far too easily before finishing.
The 29-year-old has been struggling for form in recent weeks and it seems as though the club’s supporters are starting to lose patience with the midfielder.
Pjanic man this why you’re getting sold
— femi (@utdfemi) May 3, 2019
Said it before I’ll say it again, sell Pjanic this summer
— Rob © (@Roby_B_10) May 3, 2019
Just like against Inter last time out, Juve started slowly and were punished by going a goal behind with Ronaldo forced to get them out of jail again, just as he did at San Siro.
Manager Massimiliano Allegri will be working on getting his side to be more alert from the first whistle, having now fallen behind in their last three league matches.
Starting XI: Szczesny (6); Cancelo (5), Bonucci (6), Chiellini (6), Spinazzola (6), Cuadrado (5), Pjanic (4), Matuidi (5), Bernadeschi (6), Kean (6), Ronaldo (7*)
Substitutes: Pereira (6), De Sciglio (N/A)
Unsurprisingly, Juventus owe a debt of gratitude to record signing Ronaldo, who was the saviour once more; netting his 21st league goal of the season with a bullet header late on.
The 34-year-old was a constant threat throughout the game but, despite multiple attempts on goal, it seemed like it would not be his night.
His ability to keep going and keep getting in the right positions is what makes him the great goalscorer he is though and, ultimately, it was no surprise to see him net the equaliser late on with the 100th header goal of his career.
Key Talking Point
This was a huge setback for Torino on two counts.
One, this would have been their first victory over their greatest rivals in the last 10 meetings, but now the four-year wait will go on. More importantly though, victory would have brought them level on points with fourth-placed Atalanta and given them a massive boost in their pursuit of the final Champions League spot.
They now sit two points behind them having played a game more and, if results go against them this weekend, they could end up in eighth place.
If they are to end the season in the top four it would be just the second time in their history that they have reached Europe’s elite competition, the only other time being 43 years ago.
Starting XI: Sirigu (7); Izzo (6), Nkoulou (7), Bremer (7), De Silvestri (6), Meite (7), Rincon (6), Lukic (8*), Ansaldi (6), Berenguer (6), Belotti (7)
Substitutes: Baselli (6), Aina (6), Zaza (N/A)
His goal was not enough to see his side pick up the three points but Lukic should be very happy with his night’s work.
The 22-year-old set the tone for the whole team, pressing Juventus all over the pitch and causing Pjanic to have one of his worst games for the club.
The energy he put in offensively and defensively was vital for a Torino side who were looking to counter-attack and not only did he grab their only goal, but he also set up Andrea Belotti for the best chance Torino had in the second period, which would have surely secured them all three points.
Juventus will look to get themselves back to winning ways next weekend when they travel to the Italian capital to take on Roma in a tricky clash at the Stadio Olimpico.
Torino, meanwhile, will continue their push for a place in the top four as they host mid-table Sassuolo.