Juventus brushed aside Crotone to keep in touch with the Serie A title race, as two first-half headers from Cristiano Ronaldo set the tone for a comfortable win.
Crotone were the only current Serie A side Ronaldo was yet to score against, but after he missed a sitter from a Federico Chiesa cut-back early on, he made amends with a great header to convert Alex Sandro’s cross.
Aaron Ramsey then picked him out to double the lead, as Juve took charge despite looking a little off the pace in the first half.
They needed a win to get things back on track and stand any chance of catching leaders Inter, and Serie A’s bottom team were doing little to deny them it. The three points were confirmed when the ball fell to Weston McKennie after a stramash in the box, and he fired an effort high into Alex Cordaz’s net.
Let’s get into some player ratings!
Gianluigi Buffon (GK) – 6/10 – Had exactly one save to make and easily held an effort from Junior Messias.
Danilo (RB) – 6/10 – Had more touches of the ball than any other player but was a little slack with his distribution. Fine defensively.
Merih Demiral (CB) – 7/10 – Does this man know how to give the ball away?
Matthijs de Ligt (CB) – 6/10 – A bit impetuous at times but dominated Samuel Di Carmine and made his presence felt.
Alex Sandro (LB) – 7/10 – Great searching cross to find Ronaldo for the opener. Otherwise a steady presence down the left flank.
Federico Chiesa (RM) – 6/10 – Didn’t see too much of the ball but seemed to pose a real threat when he did – particularly in the second half. Often overplayed things by taking a touch too many.
Weston McKennie (CM) – 8/10 – The more ambitious of the two central midfielders. Got forward plenty, covered loads of ground and barely ever gave the ball away. Deserved his goal after an all-action performance.
Rodrigo Bentancur (CM) – 7/10 – Saw plenty of the ball and was always alert to sweep things up when one of the defenders went walkies. Given a rest for the final 20.
Aaron Ramsey (LM) – 6/10 – Not at his sharpest and a little wasteful in front of goal, but was quick to pounce on a loose ball and cross for Ronaldo’s second header.
Cristiano Ronaldo (CF) – 8/10 – Missed a sitter early on, and then scored twice from good chances. What else can you do? Seemed frustrated at his lack of a hat-trick but the two goals did the job on this occasion.
Dejan Kulusevski (CF) – 6/10 – Made Luca Marrone regret being subbed on with some of his evasive movement on the ball. Otherwise fairly quiet.
Nicolo Fagioli (Bentancur, 70) – 6/10
Alvaro Morata (Kulusevski, 76) – 5/10
Federico Bernardeschi (Ramsey, 76) – 5/10
Gianluca Frabotta (Sandro, 86) – N/A
Alessandro Di Pardo (Chiesa, 86) – N/A