Juventus were left frustrated in their 2021/22 Serie A opener as two Wojciech Szczesny errors let Udinese come back from 2-0 down to eventually share the spoils on Sunday evening.
I Bianconeri started positively and took just two minutes to break the deadlock. Some neat interplay on the right flank released Rodrigo Bentancur into the box, before the Uruguayan cut the ball back for Paulo Dybala to brilliantly flick into the bottom corner.
The little Argentine then turned provider 20 minutes later, setting his side away on the counter with a sensational raking ball over the top for Cuadrado to collect. The Colombian took the ball into his path, feinted past his defender and buried the ball into the far corner with aplomb to double Juve’s lead.
Udinese never lost faith, however, and the deficit was halved just six minutes into the second half. Szczesny was at fault as he clumsily spilled Tolgay Arslan’s strike before tripping the German up as he rushed to collect the rebound. Roberto Pereyra stepped up to take the spot kick and calmly converted to make it 2-1.
There was to be more drama involving Juventus’ goalkeeper with eight minutes of the game remaining, as his complacent footwork eventually gifted Gerard Deulofeu an open goal to notch his side’s second.
That wouldn’t be the last twist in the tale, however. Max Allegri’s men pushed on to get themselves back in the ascendancy and thought they’d found a winner in the fourth minute of stoppage time when Cristiano Ronaldo clinically headed Federico Chiesa’s cross into the back of the net – only for a VAR check to break Juve hearts and disallow the strike for an offside.
In the end, Allegri had to settle for a point in the first game of his second spell as I Bianconeri boss, as the match finished at 2-2. Now, let’s see how the Juve players rated…
Wojciech Szczesny (GK) – 1/10 – Oh dear. Let everyone down with one silly error and one criminal blunder in the second half. Oh to be a fly on the wall for Allegri’s post-match briefing in the dressing room.
Danilo (RB) – 6/10 – A threat in the early stages, although faded in an offensive sense as time went on. Introduced solidity when moved into an anchoring midfield role in the second period.
Matthijs de Ligt (CB) – 7/10 – Big, strong and intimidating. A massive aerial presence for his side, towering over his opposition to win duels in dangerous circumstances.
Leonardo Bonucci (CB) – 7/10 – Calm and composed when faced with runners, to read the game and cut out danger with ease, making four interceptions and two clearances.
Alex Sandro (LB) – 6/10 – Not too much involvement in forward areas, but remained solid on the back foot to make two tackles.
Rodrigo Bentancur (CM) – 8/10 – Battled hard in midfield to register six ball recoveries, while also adding an intensity and impetus in advanced areas – notably a surge into the area to assist the early opener.
Aaron Ramsey (CM) – 6/10 – Distributed the ball nicely, keeping the Old Lady ticking along and injecting some calm into proceedings. Wasn’t as effective in defence, however, often failing to screen his back four to good effect.
Federico Bernardeschi (CM) – 6/10 – Made some good runs – both late darts into the area and early surges beyond the front line – but never found possession where he could really trouble the opposition. Was important in maintaining his side’s shape as Dybala moved around the pitch, though.
Juan Cuadrado (RW) – 8/10 – Lively from the outset. Crucial in the build up play to I Bianconeri’s first, clinical for the second, and generally a menacing thorn in Udinese’s right-hand side.
Alvaro Morata (ST) – 4/10 – Worked hard and was a willing runner throughout, but just looked off the pace and lacking in that cutting edge. Headed a second half cross onto the post, but otherwise struggled to get into the game and never looked likely to worry the Udinese back line. Poor performance.
Paulo Dybala (LW) – 9/10 – An orchestrator of the highest level, freely roaming around and dictating play. Constantly found space, demonstrated the vision and quality to see and execute some truly unbelievable passes and was simply untouchable for large parts. Finished effortlessly to put his side ahead and played Cuadrado in with a superb ball for 2-0 – talismanic.
Cristiano Ronaldo (ST) – 6/10 – Headed in brilliantly at the death, only for his goal to be scrapped for a light offside. Desperately unlucky.
Giorgio Chiellini (CB) – 6/10
Dejan Kulusevski (ST) – 7/10
Federico Chiesa (RWB) – 7/10
Manuel Locatelli (CM) – N/A