Juventus held their nerve to edge past 10-man Sassuolo 3-1 and move fourth in Serie A, just a point behind Inter and Atalanta.
The Old Lady lacked sharpness and creativity for much of the first half and were burdened by being forced into two substitutions before the half time whistle; Weston McKennie and Paulo Dybala the two players to come off injured.
Federico Chiesa was lucky not to join them after Pedro Obiang’s tackle, which earned him a red card, but he and Juve were unable to take advantage of their numerical advantage.
The second half was a different story though and Juventus opened the scoring after Danilo ventured forward and struck a long range effort with power and accuracy into the top corner. Sassuolo didn’t let up, however, and replied after 58 minutes through Gregoire Defrel.
Juve continued to knock on the door, with Chiesa and Cristiano Ronaldo coming mightily close thanks to good work from Aaron Ramsey and Dejan Kulusevski, before the Welshman found a pocket of space to fire Andrea Pirlo’s side ahead.
Ronaldo then sealed the deal on the counter, with virtually the last kick of the game. But enough of all that, eh? Let’s do some Juve player ratings.
Wojciech Szczesny (GK) – 5/10 – Could do nothing to stop Sassuolo’s equaliser. Decent handling and distribution when called upon, which wasn’t often.
Danilo (RB) – 7/10 – Did virtually nothing of note in the first half but came out after the break and scored a screamer in his first true venture forward. Efficient.
Leonardo Bonucci (CB) – 5/10 – Booked after being caught out positionally in the first half and was run ragged by Defrel on the counter.
Merih Demiral (CB) – 6/10 – Almost provided Ronaldo with an assist at the end of the first half and commanded proceedings at the back when Sassuolo looked to counter attack.
Gianluca Frabotta (LB) – 7/10 – The 21-year-old was keen to get forward with Ramsey drifting inside ahead of him and was rewarded with a late assist after countless wayward crosses.
Federico Chiesa (RM) – 6/10 – Tireless game from Chiesa who is continuing to grow in confidence. Did well to carry on following the challenge from Obiang and moved the ball well in wide areas, despite a lack of support.
Rodrigo Bentancur (CM) – 4/10 – Lethargic first half from Bentancur who failed to dictate the game and was late to challenges. Hooked at half time as a result.
Arthur Melo (CM) – 5/10 – Not much better from his midfield partner; Arthur was too slow in possession and gave the ball away with poor passing.
Weston McKennie (LM) – 5/10 – Started the game brightly but picked up an injury and left the field in the opening 20 minutes. Hopefully it’s nothing too serious.
Paulo Dybala (ST) – 5/10 – Uninspiring first half from Dybala where a half-hearted penalty shout was his only highlight before coming off injured after 42 minutes.
Cristiano Ronaldo (ST) – 7/10 – Ronaldo endured a frustrating time of it and wasted chances when in possession, truthfully. He topped off an underwhelming performance with a goal in the last seconds, though, because of course he did.
Aaron Ramsey – 9/10 – Improved as the game went on and created plenty of chances for his side in dangerous areas. His movement and effort levels were rewarded with a late winner.
Dejan Kulusevski – 6/10 – Moved well and provided energy for Juve, but drifting to cause problems made it too easy for defenders at times.
Adrien Rabiot – 6/10 – Better than Bentancur, providing composure and quality passing from midfield.
Federico Bernardeschi – N/A
Alvaro Morata – N/A