Lazio vs Juventus score, takeaways: Leonardo Bonucci dominates at both ends of the field in victory

Juventus needed help from the Lazio defenders but they converted two penalties into a workman like victory, a result which the side desperately needed as they try to dig themselves out of the hole their early season struggles have dropped them into. The win takes them provisionally into sixth place. 

Juve welcomed Leonardo Bonucci back to the starting lineup and were rewarded with a clean sheet and a brace from their captain who fired home twice from the spot. Max Allegri was struck with an injury worry just 11 minutes into the game as Danilo was forced off and was replaced by Dejan Kulusevski marking a change to a more attacking formation. They were rewarded for the change as just eight minutes later Danilo Cataldi’s challenge on Alvaro Morata was deemed to be a penalty after a video review. Bonucci wouldn’t miss his kick from the spot to give Juventus the lead only 23 minutes into the match. 

From there, the Juve defense went to work stifling Lazio. No one could get a sniff at goal for Lazio no matter who they tossed on the field. Ultimately, as is often the case for Maurizzio Sarri coached teams, Lazio dominated possession playing 620 passes to Juventus’ 457, but despite needing to chase the match and having so much of the ball, the hosts only managed eight shots worth 0.29 expected goals.

Another penalty for Juventus would seal it when in the 80th minute as Pepe Reina went adventuring outside the box. Chiesa spotted the empty net and went driving toward the goal but was caught by a two-footed challenge by Reina. That earned him a yellow card while providing Bonnuci another chance from the spot. Bonnuci wouldn’t miss putting the match out of sight for Juventus.  

This was quite the win for Juventus in their race for a top four spot. Lazio will have better games but Saturday’s match was proof that, despite their struggles, Juve’s dominant defense remains capable of putting in world class performances when needed. The question for the rest of the season is just how often will they be able to hit this level, when they’ve given themselves so little margin for error in their chase for Champions League spots.

Here are three takeaways from the match: 

1. What was Pepe Reina doing?

It’s one thing to get caught outside the box as a keeper, but to not only get caught out and then concede the penalty is a bad look. Reina is an erm… experienced keeper who should know better than to be in these spots but he cost his team in a big way and could’ve had a chance to be sent off due to his two-footed challenge on Cheisa. 

2. Only a captain’s calmness will do

Bonnuci gave Juve just what they needed as the double from the spot vaults them right back into the European race.  Helping clean up the defense was just an added bonus at that point but Bonnuci also took the fourth most touches on the team as he and Mathias De Ligt brought a much needed calmness to things. 

3. Sorry Sarri?

Lazio has to find a way to turn possession into attacking chances. Seeing as much of the ball as they did, they should’ve been able to put more than one shot on goal. If they can’t up the tempo a little, a European dream will be just that, a dream.

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