The Bianconeri returned to Turin to take on a Ferencvarosi side the club had just dispatched 4-1 in Hungary twenty days ago. This time the squad had fans watching worldwide biting their nails as they struggled to put away the same Green Eagles club even with the return of Champions League superstar Cristiano Ronaldo. But, the football gods smiled down on Torino as Alvaro Morata played hero once again.
Wojciech Szczesny - 6
While Szczesny was not bad, per se, giving up a goal happens to every defender, but during the concession he was lacking the flashes of brilliance the Polish goalkeeper showed in the final third of last season after the resumption of play. What he is missing is the ability to make the ‘miracle saves’ that a younger Gigi Buffon was famous for and what Juventini have been spoiled with in the past. Sometimes the goalkeeper is expected to pull out that fantastic stop every now and again.
Juan Cuadrado - 7
Cuadrado had moments in the game against Ferencvaros where he struggled, but came up big in the moment where the club needed him most: setting up the match winning header assist for Morata. Cuadrado contributed two assists, one clearance, one blocked shot, one interception, two tackles, and five ground duels won.
Alex Sandro - 6.5
Returning from an injury into the starting lineup, Alex Sandro provided a more than serviceable role as a defender. Alex Sandro was obviously still behind physically if you go by the eyeball test on the field. Sandro accumulated five interceptions, three tackles, nine ground duels won, and seven aerial duels won.
Danilo Luiz da Silva - 6
It is important to preface in rating that Danilo is sacrificing himself and playing out of position while the Bianconeri are depleted at the center back position. That being said, Danilo played a far from perfect game while stepping up. Including a lazy pass midway through the first half of play nearly gave up an additional goal to the Green Eagles when Juventus were already playing on their heels. Danilo had three clearances, four interceptions, and five aerial duels won. Danilo was penalized with a yellow card for arguing a fairly tame defensive play at the 80’.
Matthijs De Ligt - 7
All Juventus fans can be thankful that the last key piece that remains healthy on the field is also quite possibly the best. De Ligt contributed three blocked shots, two interceptions, two clearances, two tackles, and two ground duels won. The young man is holding down the defense in the absence of the Bianconeri’s experienced leaders.
Arthur Melo - 6.5
Arthur, while his stats may not show it, was fairly active on the pitch today. The Brazilian was responsible for three accurate long balls, two shots, two ground duels won, one aerial duel won, and one interception. Arthur was subbed off for Aarom Ramsey at the 83’.
Weston McKennie - 5.5
The American appeared lost at moments, coming in and out of position throughout the pace of play. In McKennie’s first match starting in Champions League it was apparent that the American was a bit shaken by the big stage. Multiple occasions when the ball made its way into contact with McKennie the player would either head it or deflect it off of his chest with no sense of purpose or direction. But a defensive stop from the midfielder in the 47’ helped save the Bianconeri defense from an apparent breakdown from an energetic Hungarian attack. Players have bad games, luckily for Weston McKennie this occurred against a lower level opponent in the Champions League. McKennie was subbed off for Dejan Kulusevski at the 62’.
Rodrigo Bentancur - 6.5
Bentancur played the role of Rabiot from the Cagliari match for me in the first half: was he out there on the field? The Uruguayan was the one player I have no memory of touching the ball in the first half. Bentancur returned and redeemed himself in the second half accumulating five ground duels won, three aerial duels won, two clearances, two interceptions, and four tackles. Bentancur was subbed off for Adrien Rabiot at the 83’.
Paulo Dybala - 6.5
The newly anointed captain of the Bianconeri showed some signs of improvement in his game and confidence in his first game of the season wearing the armband. Dybala linked up with Bernardeschi early in the first half in an attempt to set up Ronaldo for a well placed goal attempt that the striker was unable to convert, but remained an impressive sight nonetheless. Dybala was subbed off for Alvaro Morata in the 62’. Dybala contributed two shots on target, two key passes, one accurate cross, and one accurate long ball, and one clearance.
Cristiano Ronaldo - 7
I feel like this section can fill itself in at this point. Ronaldo does Ronaldo things, scoring the equalizer in the 35’ after Uzuni gave Ferencvarosi an early 1-0 lead. Still there are moments that remain where the greatest footballer of all time struggles against inferior defenders which makes one question if he tends to play down to the level of competition. The missed attempt when the Green Eagles defense broke down at the 68’ was perplexing though. Ronaldo now has 37 goals in his last 36 total games played and now sits level with Messi at the top Champions League home scoring with 70 goals in friendly confines.
Federico Bernardeschi - 6.5
A slight regression in the increased productivity that the Italian national has exhibited during the last Bianconeri and Azzurri matches. But of note to this writer is seeing the change in the demeanor of Bernardeschi since the international break. The level of intensity the Italian national has played with since returning has been noticeably different. Playing at a high pace and constantly making attempts at attacking are a welcome sight from the Italian. Bernardeschi was immensely unlucky with the shot on goal at the 60’ that was barely deflected off of the post. Hopefully long gone are the matches spent watching Bernardeschi walk down the pitch with his hand on his hips without a hint of hustle. Bernardeschi was subbed off for Federico Chiesa in the 62’.
Alvaro Morata (↔️ Paulo Dybala) - 7.5
I’ll be honest, I want to give Morata a 9 after that header from Cuadrado to save the match, the points, and the qualification. But I must remain reasonable. That being said, the goal was about as excited as I’ve been in recent memory. Best purchase of the summer, glad our boy is home. Also, Morata cannot avoid getting offside even when the ball is not being passed to him. Shortly after being subbed on in the second half Morata stopped the shot of a Kulusevski attempt when the Swedish striker attempted a shot heading in the Spaniard’s direction. And I couldn't help myself, but laugh at the occurrence.
Federico Chiesa (↔️ Federico Bernardeschi) - 6
Chiesa entered onto the pitch alongside Morata and Kulusevski at the 62’. In his short time on the pitch the player made a couple questionable mistakes, literally passing the ball to a defender and being penalized with a yellow card at the 90’+3. Chiesa did win three ground duels.
Dejan Kulusevski (↔️ Weston McKennie) - 6.5
Kulusevski joined the game at the 62’ along with Chiesa and Morata and went on the attack right away. Unfortunately for the Swedish player’s shot was blocked by an eternally offside Morata. From there Kulusevski had two ground duels won and one interception.
Adrien Rabiot (↔️ Rodrigo Bentancur) - Not Enough Information
Aaron Ramsey (↔️ Arthur Melo) - Not Enough Information
Andrea Pirlo - 6.5
Nothing that occurred on the field was especially the fault of Pirlo, and his substitutions helped refresh the attack and seal the win with the addition of Morata.