Cristiano Ronaldo scored a late penalty to secure Juventus a dramatic 2-1 win over Lazio on Sunday evening.
Lazio started the game brightly, and their vibrancy in the final third caused Juventus all sorts of problems. Wallace spurned the best of their early chances when his free header drifted harmlessly into the gloves of Wojciech Szczesny.
Szczesny was the busier of the two keepers for the remainder of the first half, producing a string of fine saves to keep his side in contention. Daniele Rugani was also on hand to keep out Lazio just before the interval, clearing the ball off the line after Ciro Immobile beat the former Arsenal stopper with a delicate chip.
However, Szczesny could do nothing to prevent Juventus from going a goal behind just before the hour mark. Emre Can couldn’t react quickly enough to clear a corner and the midfielder inadvertently headed the ball into the back of his own net.
Juventus were able to avoid falling further behind after Immobile missed a gilt-edged opportunity and they were then able to find an equaliser with 15 minutes left on the clock. Substitute Joao Cancelo reacted quickest to a save from Thomas Strakosha and buried the ball into the bottom corner with the resulting rebound.
With the game slowly edging towards its conclusion, Juventus were provided with the chance to steal all three points from the penalty spot when Cancelo was brought down in the box. Cristiano Ronaldo stepped up and struck home his spot kick with conviction, making up for his miss against Chievo Verona last week.
Key Talking Point
After Napoli were only able to muster a goalless draw against Milan on Saturday, Juventus had the chance to go 11 points clear with a win in this one.
They ended up putting in their most disappointing performance of the season and they were very fortunate to come away with the win. If Lazio were more clinical, particularly in the first half, the the game could have easily been beyond Juventus before they even got the chance to mount a comeback.
The league title is all but wrapped up at this point, but Juventus will want to make sure that this sort of performance doesn’t spill over into the other competitions they are still in the running for – particularly the Champions League.
Starting XI: Szczesny (8*); De Sciglio (6), Bonucci (6), Rugani (6), Sandro (6); Can (4), Matuidi (5), Bentancur (5); Costa (6), Ronado (5), Dybala (5).
Substitutes: Chiellini (6), Bernardeschi (6), Cancelo (7).
Star Man – Wojciech Szczesny
If it weren’t for their Polish keeper, Juventus wouldn’t have come away with a single point, let alone three.
Szczesny was outstanding throughout, pulling off plenty of fine saves to frustrate the Lazio forward line. He is starting to project the same sort of presence his predecessor Gianluigi Buffon was famous for, which can only be a good thing for Il Bianconeri.
Bravo Szczesny. The rest of the team has been pretty awful.
— #YesWeKenji2020 (@Firebird_Spirit) January 27, 2019
That was one of the worst first half performances I’ve ever seen this season. Szczesny saved us. #LazioJuve
— Bryan Barcelona (@barcelonabryan) January 27, 2019
Worst Player – Emre Can
An evening to forget for Can, who was guilty of a number of mistakes in front of the Juventus back line.
He looked far too ponderous on the ball at times and he gifted possession back to Lazio on too many occasions with some sloppy distribution. His own goal topped off a disappointing performance.
Juventus travel to face Atalanta on Wednesday in the Coppa Italia before they host Parma in Serie A on Saturday evening.