Off a Cristiano Ronaldo brace, where his two goals came only three minutes apart, Juventus all but sealed its ninth Scudetto in a row with a 2-1 defeat against a depleted Lazio squad at the Allianz Stadium in Matchday 34 of the 2019/20 Serie A.
Lazio and Juventus were goalless in the first half. A Lazio defense reworked following an injury to Stefan Radu played well.
In the first half, Luiz Felipe shut down the Juventus attack in the Brazilian’s second game back from injury. Additionally, Francesco Acerbi continued to perform like one of the best centre-backs in Italy. His reading of the game was phenomenal, and his passing from the backline has continuously set the tempo for Lazio’s attack this season.
Another player worthy of mention is Danilo Cataldi. The lifelong Laziale played well in the defensive midfielder role. He covered a lot of ground and made three tackles on the evening. An 85% pass success rate to add on to that made him one of the better members of the Biancocelesti on the pitch.
In attack, Lazio had little to show, however, with Ciro Immobile’s late first-half screamer off the post the only real threat of the first 45 minutes. The opportunity came after a great tackle from Marco Parolo, and Immobile was unlucky to see the ball miss the net as the striker was looking for his 30th Serie A goal of the season as well as a boost in the now tight Capocannoniere race.
After a string of blocks from the Lazio defense, an attempt from Cristiano Ronaldo hit Bastos in the arm. After VAR, it was determined Bastos’ hand was in the penalty box, and Ronaldo slotted home the opening goal from 12 yards out.
Only three minutes after the opening penalty, Paulo Dybala took the ball from a lackadaisical Luiz Felipe, after Dybala ran with only goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha to beat, he passed to Ronaldo who easily got his brace, and a 2-0 Juventus lead.
The handball from Bastos was simply another example of the Angolan’s inconsistent defensive play. The mistake from Luiz Felipe put the match nearly out of reach and had cancelled out what was up to that point a great performance.
From this point, Lazio tried to come back and sustained a promising level of attack. Additionally, many of the younger members of the squad put in some fantastic performances.
Bobby Adekanye continues to provide a spark off the bench. Djavan Anderson put in quite possibly the best performance at left-wing-back since the end of the lockdown, and André Anderson made a great run and a better long-range shot that forced a desperation save from Wojciech Sczcesny. Additionally, Luca Falbo and Raùl Moro made their first Serie A appearances, with the latter providing a dangerous run late in the match.
With Lazio threatening much of the second half, a foul from Leonardo Bonucci gave the Biancocelesti a penalty in the final 10 minutes. Immobile made a great run to draw the foul and scored to put Lazio down one and give the striker his 30th goal of the season.
With that, Immobile became only the fifth play in Serie A history to score 30 goals in a season, the fourth was Ronaldo, who scored his 30th earlier that half.
A fantastic free-kick from Sergej Milinkovic-Savic was saved by Wojciech Szczesny, which would prove to be the final real attempt from Lazio, giving Juventus the win, and very likely the title.
Juventus vs Lazio: Final Thoughts
Despite losing, Lazio played well for the first time in a while. Their solid defensive performance in the first half and sustained attack in the second was the team’s best performance in weeks. Had referee Daniele Orsato not made the controversial penalty call on Bastos, and had Luiz Felipe not made that uncharacteristic error, this could have been three points for Lazio.
Regardless of that, the goal has become securing Champions League, and with only two points needed, and fifth place Roma not at top form, that should not be too much of an issue for Lazio. The long-awaited inclusion of youth gave supporters something to look forward to. Both Anderson’s, André Anderson and Djavan Anderson played well. Raùl Moro impressed in his limited cameo, his pace and dynamic movement could be a sign of good things to come for the 17-year-old.