Juventus overcame AS Roma 1-0 at the Allianz Stadium on Saturday night to take them one point behind Napoli on the Serie A table.
It was a case of third time lucky for the Old Lady, netting an opener in the 18th minute. After Giorgio Chiellini’s header was saved by Alison, Medhi Benatia struck the upright before burying the rebound in the bottom right corner.
The second half brought out the most exciting part of the game, with both teams having their share of chances.
Alessandro Florenzi hit the woodwork 10 minutes from time, but was an inch away from the rebound himself and was unable to reach it with an open goal looming.
Miralem Pjanic then broke away with options on both sides, yet decided to shoot a rocket from outside the box. Alison just got a hand to it and hit the woodwork in the process to get everyone blood pumping.
A minute from the final whistle, Benatia almost turned from hero to villain as a defensive lapse saw Patrick Schick break away. Luckily for Juventus, Wojciech Szczesny ran out immediately to make the save.
Benatia Bianconeri’s player of the month
It has been quite the comeback for the Moroccan. Marred by injuries leaving him off the field every few weeks and making mistakes on the field, he was always a mixed bag for Juventus. However, he has recently completely turned his fortunes around.
Juve have improved tremendously over the past two months and the 30-year-old has been a big part of that – improving his match fitness, his precision and his timing.
His efforts have also been proved further up the field as well, scoring two goals in the past month against Crotone and more importantly his goal today to give his side the win against Roma.
Juventus will need Benatia to stay in this sort of form if they want to keep the fight up on all fronts heading into 2018 and the business end of the season.
Juve’s defensive solidity personified
Juventus have now recorded seven clean sheets in the past month, ever since their disappointing and convincing loss away to Sampdoria on November 20.
These impressive defensive displays have come at right time of the season against the likes of Napoli, Roma, Inter and Barcelona.
It has also taken the Old Lady to second in the table, only one point below Napoli and into the Champions League round of 16 – where they will face Tottenham.
Napoli and Juventus break away
Inter’s surprising 1-0 loss against Sassuolo has helped the contenders from Turin and Naples to break away just before Christmas.
Napoli are now five points away from the Nerazzuri and still at the top of the table, while Juventus’ win today takes them four points ahead of the Milan giants.
Despite the breakaway, it is still one of the most competitive title races in the top European leagues.
It will be interesting to see if Inter can bounce back or not after this two match losing streak. It could not have come at a worse time for them as Juventus have hit dangerous form and Napoli are still one of the most lethal attacks in Europe.