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Wojciech Szczesny shows his worth, Paulo Dybala injured in Cagliari win

Wojciech Szczesny shows his worth, Paulo Dybala injured in Cagliari win
From ESPN - January 7, 2018

Juventus were not at their best but still managed to defeat Cagliari 1-0 on Saturday evening, albeit controversially.

Juventus started the match well but Cagliari refused to lie down and roll over, playing an excellent match that perhaps should have ensured they walk away with something. Utilising their pace and creating several key chances, Juve were left rattled and forced to count on Wojciech Szczesny.

The Old Lady did eventually get the goal in what was a physical second half but it came under controversial circumstances. Medhi Benatia had seemingly elbowed Leonardo Pavoletti but play was allowed to go on and Federico Bernardeschi scored soon after.

Unable to control possession, Juventus were struggling and lucky not to have conceded a penalty as the ball hit Bernardeschi's arm but they did eventually get over the line and record another victory to remain second in the Serie A table.

Positives

Szczesny has proved once again that he can be relied upon at the back, transmitting a sense of calm. Alert, aware and quick to react, he was spectacular on the night proving Juve are in safe hands once Gianluigi Buffon retired.

Negatives

"If people want a competitive league, it's one thing, but if they want a league where all the big clubs always win, then they should tell us," said Cagliari President Tommaso Giulini. VAR was meant to a be a reliable tool used to stop people from crying foul every time a big team got the decisions but it's instead creating more controversy as people are doubting referees and still pointing the finger in a suspicious league.

Manager rating out of 10

6 --Massimiliano Allegri was forced into two substitutions due to the injuries to Sami Khedira and Paulo Dybala but he reshuffled his men well. Juve may have secured the win but Allegri must work on ensuring his side do not run so many risks at the back and play with more intelligence when facing a combative side.

Player ratings (1-10; 10=best; players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating):

GK, Wojciech Szczesny, 7 -- Excellent save from point-blank range from Pavoletti then got down and pushed the ball away. Pulled off another great save on Diego Farias in the first half. Strong, alert and aware, Szczesny has more than proved himself capable.

DF Andrea Barzagli, 6 -- Did well to halt Pavoletti when called in, demonstrating strength, and repeated his brilliance again with Farias, rescuing the side. Alert and decisive in defence.

DF Medhi Benatia, 6 -- Nice finish for his goal rightly deemed offside but defensively he can be overly aggressive and a bit rough around the edges. Lucky to not have ruined it all for Juve with that elbow to Pavoletti's face.

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