Paulo Dybala and Juan Cuadrado were the only positive as a sub-par Juventus side were beaten 2-1 by Sassuolo at the Allianz Stadium on Wednesday.
Juventus unsurprisingly dominated the proceedings, albeit without really managing to create any major openings. In fact, the best chance of the first half came at the opposite end when Domenico Berardi’s long-range effort was tipped away from the goal by Mattia Perin. That was before Sassuolo rightly went on to grab the lead just ahead of half-time.
The Juventus defence was carved open expertly by Gregoire Defrel, who released Davide Frattesi on his ghosting run before the 22-year-old calmly found the target from close range. Sassuolo then started the second half strongly, with Giacomo Raspadori missing the mark narrowly after being set up by Berardi.
That seemed to be enough to wake Juventus from their slumber, only for them to be denied time and again by the Sassuolo backline before Weston McKennie finally found the back of the net in the 76th minute, heading in a Paulo Dybala free-kick to make it 1-1. However, Sassuolo would go on to have the last laugh deep into injury time.
As had been the case all game long, Sassuolo threatened on the break again, with Maxime Lopez finishing off a brilliant pass by Berardi to seal all three points. With that defeat, Juventus are now a massive 13 points adrift of Serie A leaders AC Milan, who grabbed a 1-0 win over Torino on Tuesday. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Massimiliano Allegri.
Mattia Perin: 6/10
Perin would count himself as unlucky for conceding two goals he could have done nothing about, as Davide Frattesi and Maxime Lopez were put in strong positions to score, although he did get a hand on the latter’s effort. The save to deny Domenico Berardi in the first half, though, was magnificent.
A game of hits and misses for Danilo. While Sassuolo rarely directed play from his end, he did make a big block on Raspadori in the first half. However, the Brazilian did not pose any sort of threat whatsoever in the final third and barely even charged forward, which made Juventus’s moves one dimensional.
Leonardo Bonucci: 4/10
Making his 400th Serie A appearance, Bonucci endured a forgettable outing as he was out of position for both the goals that Sassuolo scored. For the first, he unnecessarily charged outside his box and still could not close down Gregoire Defrel, while for the winner, the veteran defender was again nowhere to be seen. He has to do better.
Matthijs de Ligt: 6/10
Back in the starting lineup, de Ligt was the best of the Juventus defenders, with one crunching tackle to stop a certain goalscoring opening standing out. However, the Dutch international should have done better to stop Frattesi in his tracks for the first Sassuolo goal. Did not put a foot wrong otherwise, though.
Mattia De Sciglio: N/A
Mattia De Sciglio has been on a resurgent run in the early stages of the new season, but his momentum came to a crashing halt on Wednesday, just 13 minutes into the game after sustaining a knock following a heavy coming together with Frattesi. Did threaten the Sassuolo goal early on with a cross/shot.
Federico Chiesa: 6/10
A rare game when Chiesa was off the boil. While the Italian international, who was the Player to Watch in our preview, still posed a threat and showed some good chemistry with Paulo Dybala, he never really managed to create a good enough chance. At the same time, his effort in the second half from a rebound off Dybala’s shot blazed off target when he really should have scored.
Weston McKennie: 6/10
McKennie did well to rise the highest to nod in Dybala’s free-kick past the Sassuolo goalkeeper. However, it was one of the few positive moments from the USMNT international on the day, as he lost the ball cheaply on several occasions, which handed Sassuolo the initiative to embark on counter-attacking moves.
What a time for Weston McKennie’s first goal of the season ? pic.twitter.com/Io6kqEc7qO
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) October 27, 2021
Manuel Locatelli: 6/10
Locatelli was the reason why Juventus controlled the proceedings for much of the game, and he opened up play nicely with some long passes. However, the former Sassuolo midfielder was guilty of letting Frattesi drift away from him leading up to the opener.
Adrien Rabiot: 5/10
A game to forget for Rabiot, who popped up in and around the Sassuolo box regularly but never really managed to become an option for Juventus’s creative players. While he did complete each of the passes he attempted, Sassuolo evaded him with ease on their counters. Taken off at half-time for a more attacking change.
Paul Dybala: 7/10
One of only two Juventus players who left a positive mark with his performance. At times, Dybala looked like the only player who could make things happen, with Federico Chiesa not quite at his best. The Juventus skipper played a joint game-high three key passes and grabbed the assist for the goal scored by McKennie. However, Andrea Consigli was at hand to deny him with a second half chance.
Alvaro Morata: 5/10
A frustrating evening for Morata, who often found himself being left isolated, feeding off scraps for much of the hour he spent on the pitch. He worked hard to bring his teammates into the game but could not get to the end of even a single half-chance.
Alex Sandro: 5/10
On for De Sciglio, Alex Sandro was introduced way earlier than he would have imagined in this game. The Brazilian was generally reliable at the back while being a decent enough outlet down the left flank. However, he was switched off in the build-up to the opening Sassuolo goal, letting Frattesi drift past him with ease.
Juan Cuadrado: 7/10
On for Rabiot at half-time, Cuadrado was typically a bundle of energy and proved to be the most potent creative outlet for Juventus despite only playing half the game. The Colombian played three key passes while still retaining a brilliant passing rate of 90 per cent. He even came close to scoring, only to be denied by a fine goalline block.
Kaio Jorge: 6/10
On for Morata, Kaio Jorge was a bright spark higher up the pitch. However, the Brazilian prodigy did not see too many chances falling his way, while some dogged defending by Sassuolo also left him isolated at times.
Introduced in place of Locatelli, Arthur could not influence the proceedings much, although he did complete all but one of his attempted passes.
Dejan Kulusevski: N/A
On for Danilo, Kulusevski barely saw the ball in the final ten minutes or so and could not inspire a second goal from his side.