Hellas Verona 2-1 Juventus: Report, Ratings & Reaction as I Bianconeri Slip Up in Tense Title Race

​A below-par Juventus slipped to a shock 2-1 defeat to Hellas Verona on Saturday evening, as the league leaders failed to build on their advantage at the top of Serie A. 

The first half was played at a frantic pace, with both sides causing plenty of problems on the counter attack. Verona thought they had taken the lead when Marash Kumbulla headed home from close range, but his effort was ruled out for the most marginal of offside decisions. 

Juve hit the woodwork twice in the opening 45 minutes, first when Douglas Costa crashed a vicious strike against the bar, and then Cristiano Ronaldo’s dangerous effort which evaded everyone and hit the post. 

Cristiano Ronaldo

Juventus took the lead just after the hour mark, when Ronaldo raced onto a lovely ball over the top, beat his man and placed a precise finish into the bottom corner of the Verona net. But I Bianconeri’s lead did not last long, as Fabio Borini levelled the scores with a calm finish following some shoddy Juve defending. 

Verona were then awarded a penalty for a Leonardo Bonucci handball in the penalty area, and Giampaolo Pazzini dispatched the spot-kick to send the home fans into delirium. 

Juve pushed to get back into the game, but they were unable to find a way through the stubborn Verona defence, who held on to claim a dramatic victory. 

Hellas Verona 

Player Ratings 

Starting XI: Silvestri (7); Rrahmani (7), Kumbulla (6), Gunter (7); Faraoni (7), Amrabat (8), Veloso (7), Lazovic (7); Pessina (6), Zaccagni (7); Borini (7).

Substitutes: Verre (7), Pazzini (7), Dimarco (6).


Key Talking Point 

It is hard to believe that Paulo Dybala continues to be left out of the ​Juventus side this season. The Argentine magician is the ultimate lock-pick, and his quick feet and eye for a pass make him one of the most lethal players in the division. Yet the 26-year-old is being forced to play a bit-part role during what should be the best years of his career. 

Paulo Dybala

Many believed that I Bianconeri would be built around la Joya by now, and plenty of supporters questioned if he possessed the potential that was once believed to be true. But without doubt, ​Dybala is the best number 10 in the league, and he would be mesmerising us week in, week out at any other Serie A side. 

Sarri introduced the Argentine on 59 minutes, and five minutes later he laid on the perfect assist to open the scoring. The court rests. 

Player Ratings 

Starting XI: Szczesny (6); Cuadrado (6), Bonucci (5), De Ligt (8), Alex Sandro (6); Bentancur (6), Pjanic (5), Rabiot (6); Costa (6); Ronaldo (7), Higuain (6).

Substitutes: Dybala (7), Ramsey (6), De Sciglio (6).

Matthijs de Ligt

After a tough initial couple of months in Turin, Matthijs de Ligt is quietly growing into the defender that Juventus assumed they had bought in the summer. The giant Dutchman has had some shaky moments at the back for I Bianconeri, but his recent performances have been much improved, and the 20-year-old was monstrous for Sarri’s side on Saturday evening. 

Hellas Verona v Juventus - Serie A

De Ligt repelled everything that came his way, and he stood strong against some fluid and creative Verona attacks. There was little the Netherlands international could do about the freak nature of the hosts’ goals, and he continued to defend on the front foot as the game progressed. 

Looking Ahead 

Verona follow up their excellent evening against Juve with a trip to struggling Udinese on Sunday evening. 

Juventus can put their title charge to the back of their mind when they face ​Milan in the Coppa Italia semi-final on Thursday evening, as Sarri’s men look to earn a valuable lead in the first leg. 


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