Monday, April 22, 2019

Cagliari 0 Juventus 2: Bonucci leads champions a step closer to title

SoccerNews in Serie A 2 Apr 2019

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Juventus took another step towards an eighth successive Serie A title on Tuesday thanks to a 2-0 win over Cagliari at Sardegna Arena.

Without the injured Cristiano Ronaldo and Paulo Dybala and the ill Mario Mandzukic, it fell to Leonardo Bonucci to head in the opener midway through the first half.

Moise Kean scored his fourth goal in three games to seal the points late on, as Massimiliano Allegri’s side cruised to victory.

The win took Juve 18 points clear at the top, with Napoli playing their game in hand against Empoli on Wednesday.

Juve overcame a sluggish start to take the lead 22 minutes in, Bonucci nodding in Federico Bernardeschi’s corner from the left.

Blaise Matuidi headed a good chance for a second over the bar, and it was a miss that should have been punished six minutes before the break, when Joao Pedro side-footed high and wide.

Kean, who has been something of a revelation in Ronaldo’s absence, had a quiet first hour but wasted a fine chance to make it 2-0 when he prodded a bouncing ball straight into the gloves of Alessio Cragno.

Substitute Alberto Cerri threatened with a header, but Kean ended the hosts’ resistance when he tapped in Rodrigo Bentancur’s drilled cross from the right with five minutes remaining.

What does it mean? Allegri’s stand-ins ensure the show goes on

With no Ronaldo, Dybala, Mandzukic, Douglas Costa, Juan Cuadrado and Sami Khedira, this was always likely to be a difficult trip for Juve at the beginning of a crucial month in their season.

As it was, they saw out the win with minimal fuss courtesy of some solid performances from a handful of back-up players, ensuring their grip on the title remains firm as they prepare for a double-header against AC Milan and Ajax.

Cagliari’s three-game winning run at home came to an end, but they remain unlikely to be dragged back into a relegation scrap.

Bonucci the standard-bearer

Bonucci equalled his best-ever tally for league goals in a single season with his header, and he largely controlled the remainder of the match from the back. A supreme display.

Lykogiannis a liability

Charalampos Lykogiannis was booked for a poor challenge on Mattia De Sciglio in the first half, and he was exposed on the left-hand side as Bentancur delivered the cross for the killer second.

What’s next?

Juve host Milan on Saturday before next Wednesday’s Champions League trip to Amsterdam. Cagliari are at home to SPAL on Sunday.

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