Joao Cancelo outshines Cristiano Ronaldo in Juventus win over Lazio

Matt Jones 25/08/2018
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Juventus sauntered to an ultimately comfortable 2-0 victory over lacklustre Lazio in Turin to make it two wins from two at the start of the 2018/19 Serie A season.

Bosnian midfielder Miralem Pjanic put the Bianconeri in the lead with terrific technique as his arrowed shot pierced the Lazio net midway through the first half after the visitors failed to clear a cross.

Cristiano Ronaldo endured another frustrating outing as he failed to exert his authority on proceedings, though he did end up with an assist as his miscued backheel – when attempting to tap in – ended up allowing Mario Mandzukic to make it 2-0 and the points safe.

Here we rate both sets of players:

JUVENTUS (4-3-3)

Wojciech Szczesny – 6: Reacted brilliantly to tip Lulic’s fierce effort around the post. Alert to cut off Immobile before the break. Did what he did well.

Joao Cancelo – 8: Always a willing forward runner down Juve’s right. A constant menace and his dangerous cross led to the killer second. Easily Juve’s best player.       

Leonardo Bonucci – 6: Was in the wars a bit as he cut out a Lazio effort, soldiering on and dealing comfortably with the visitors’ attacking threat.

Giorgio Chiellini – 6: Typically stout at the back for Juve. Saw a second-half header tipped over. Will have harder days.

Alex Sandro – 5: Uncharacteristically quiet going forward and conceded a team-high three fouls during a muted performance.

Sami Khedira – 6: Suicidal pass could have gifted Lazio the opening goal. Unlucky to later hit the post.

Miralem Pjanic – 7: Sublime technique and precision shot to give his side the lead. A Rolls Royce of a player.

Blaise Matuidi – 6: Neat and tidy as you’d expect. Wasn’t a premium performance from the all-action Frenchman, but didn’t need to be.

Federico Bernardeschi – 7: Superb work ethic to keep ball in and then sublime skill to fashion a swerving shot on goal. Always threatening, surprisingly taken off on the hour mark.        

Mario Mandzukic – 6: Strange perhaps that he led the line rather than Ronaldo. Typically hard-working and industrious if unspectacular. Opportunistic goal.

Cristiano Ronaldo – 6: A largely morose outing from the phenom. Struggled to make an impact yet his fizzing effort was saved superbly by Strakosha before he somehow earned an assist for Mandzukic’s goal.

SUBS:

Douglas Costa – 6: Fired in four crosses (second most behind Cancelo’s seven) as he looked to get involved when coming on.

Emre Can – 6: An understated debut in Bianconeri black and white. Looked calm and assured in this cameo.

Rodrigo Bentancur – 6: Thrown on late on, with little time to make an impact.

Sergej Milinkovic-Savic endured a frustrating afternoon.

Sergej Milinkovic-Savic endured a frustrating afternoon.

LAZIO (3-5-1-1)

Thomas Strakosha – 8: Brilliantly tipped Bernardeschi’s effort behind and then got fingertips to Ronaldo’s ferocious effort. Kept the scoreline respectable.

Wallace – 7: A busy afternoon for the young Brazilian. A mammoth 12 interceptions was mightily impressive.

Francesco Acerbi – 7: Horror back pass almost let Ronaldo in. Made a team-leading nine clearances.  

Stefan Radu – 5: Didn’t do a lot wrong, but not a lot right either as he was under par for the away side.

Adam Marusic – 6: Worked hard in the right wing-back role, posting a team-leading 93.6 per cent pass accuracy. 

Marco Parolo – 6: Should have done better when he had a free header from 12 yards on the stroke of half-time. Two key passes led Lazio as did his three tackles (jointly).

Lucas Leiva – 6: Aging legs had their work cut out in midfield but he contributed well with three tackles and two interceptions.

Sergej Milinkovic-Savic – 3: Tried to get his team going but toiled in the middle. Frustrating afternoon was bookended by a booking for a foul on Chiellini and his hooking 12 minutes from time.

Senad Lulic – 5: Savage early strike was well saved, after that struggled and offered little. Sliced clearance resulting in a corner summed up his frustrations.

Luis Alberto – 4: A bright spark early on as he and Milinkovic-Savic looked to impose themselves. Four crosses but faded after the break. Taken off just after the hour.

Ciro Immobile – 3: Often frustrated as he foraged in isolation up front. Only had one shot and his woeful pass accuracy was joint second worst among teammates.

SUBS:

Joaquin Correa – 6: Was busy after coming on, keeping possession well and embarking on two dribbles.

Milan Badelj – 6: Kept the ball well but wasn’t able to penetrate an increasingly fortified Juve defence.

Riza Durmisi N/A: Came on to alter the course of the game but offered precious little.

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Patrick Kluivert claims son Justin did the right thing by snubbing Man United

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Justin Kluivert was reportedly a target for Jose Mourinho at Man United.

Patrick Kluivert claims son Justin did the right thing by joining Roma this summer, saying a move to Premier League giants Manchester United would have been “too big a jump” for the talented teenager.

Kluivert Jr, 19, had looked set to head for England but instead the forward opted to move to Italy after two years at his father’s former side Ajax.

And Dutch legend Kluivert hopes his son can follow in his illustrious footsteps one day.

“He must travel miles to get to where I did, but he’s shown talent, plus he has the character and time to have a great career,” Kluivert Snr told Gazzetta dello Sport on Wednesday.

“I think United would have been too big a jump. Roma are an important club but the pressures are less.

“Roma don’t have to win at any cost and it is a club that is used to good football. It is the ideal place for Justin right now.”

Justin Kluivert joined Roma this summer.

Justin Kluivert joined Roma this summer.

The former Ajax, AC Milan and Barcelona striker, 42, will have been pleased with his son’s impact in Serie A, Justin making an immediate impact with his cross setting up Edin Dzeko for the match winner in the opening league game against Torino last weekend.

“I want to see him win with Roma and I want to see him happy,” added Kluivert of Justin, who has signed until 2023 with the side from the Eternal City, who finished third in Serie A last season.

“I’m very satisfied with what he’s doing. He doesn’t talk much, but he’s someone who knows how to listen and is motivated. I wanted him to stay at Ajax for another year, but he made his choice.

“Then, who doesn’t dream of Barcelona? But Italian football is catching up and Justin can take advantage of it.”

Kluivert Snr earned 79 caps for the Netherlands before retiring in 2004, and is now the assistant Cameroon coach, under former Ajax and Netherlands colleague Clarence Seedorf.

Kluivert Jr made 30 league appearances for Ajax last season, scoring 10 goals, and earned his first call-up to the Dutch national team in March.

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Why Inter Milan new boy Lautaro Martinez is yet to live up to hype after tough Serie A bow

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Great anticipation greeted Sunday’s Serie A debut for Internazionale’s latest import from South America, Lautaro Martinez.

Martinez, 20, was snatched up from Racing Club in July for €22.7 million (Dh95.4m). A plethora of European sides had coveted his signature, including Madrid rivals Real and Atletico.

This sense of excitement was only added to by a promising pre-season that contained four goals in seven run-outs for the Argentina forward. But he never looked like adding to this tally when the Nerazzurri’s top-flight commitments got under way with a disappointing 1-0 reversal at Sassuolo.

Here, we analyse the performance of Inter’s marquee summer buy:

STATISTICS 

Goals – 0

Assists – 0

Shots – 0

Shots on target – 0

Touches – 33

Passes – 15

Key passes – 0

Dribbles – 0

Dispossessed – 3

30-SECOND REPORT

Inter head coach Luciano Spalletti’s tactical rejig continued, with the Italian moving away from last term’s 4-2-3-1 formation and placing Martinez behind lone striker Icardi in a 4-4-1-1.

Nascent signs of a budding partnership had been witnessed in pre-season between the Argentines. But a step-up in intensity saw this relationship break down.

Martinez was dispossessed more than any team-mate (three), plus produced zero key passes and shots. Sassuolo also gave him no room to manoeuvre, inflicting five fouls on the attacker – the joint-highest for Inter.

GOT RIGHT

Kept on trying – Martinez left Mapei Stadium-Citta del Tricolore with both body and ego bruised. The hosts inflicted heavy handed treatment throughout, meaning this was a harsh introduction to elite European football after 22 goals in 48 league matches for Racing.

Only Ghana wide man Kwadwo Asamoah suffered more fouls than Martinez (six to five) – and he stayed on for all 90 minutes.

To his credit, Martinez attempted to play with bravery despite his 33 touches being the lowest of any outfield starter for Inter. They must back his talent over time.

GOT WRONG

Leaving his mark – Success on the pitch has come quick for the sublimely talented Martinez.

But space, time and protection granted to him in Argentina was not present in Serie A. The key to long-term success is doing more with less.

An efficiency must be introduced to his game during the months ahead if Inter’s impressive refit is to reach its potential.

FBL-ITA-SERIEA-SASSUOLO-INTER

KEY MOMENTS

1st min FOUL: Welcome to European football. Martinez is upended near the halfway line, just moments after kick-off.

39th min WASTED CHANCE: Martinez finally finds the space he craves, picking up the ball in a promising counter-attacking position. He looks up and dreadfully overhits his pass to strike partner and countryman Mauro Icardi.

69th min SUBSTITUTED: A tough bow is brought to a premature end by Spalletti. Fellow summer addition Keita Balde comes on.

VERDICT

Martinez has wasted no time making the move across the Atlantic Ocean.

He only turns 21-years old later on Wednesday. This is why alarmist reactions should not greet a debut that was fitful at best.

The awful pitch at Mapei Stadium didn’t help. Neither teething problems, as Spalletti attempts to tweak the way 2017/18’s fourth-placed finishers set-up in order to fit Martinez in.

Judging by the exquisite goals and performances in pre-season, much better is to come. From player and club.

RATING: 5/10

All statistics are compiled using whoscored.com

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