Mission accomplished, of course with a little bit of help. Juventus will indeed play in the champions league next season. Unsurprisingly, this result didn't come from Juventus vs Bologna itself, but rather from Helas Verona who held strong to get a much-deserved point at Napoli. All of us were glued to our TVs, cell phones, football score apps, whatever we could get our hands on to monitor three games at once. It is a helpless feeling as a fan when you can't depend on simply one result. As far as the task at hand, Juventus took easy care of Bologna, even to the point of everyone probably watching the Napoli or Milan games in the second half. Juve came out firing, putting away chances, and honestly probably not running up the score to what could have easily been 6-0 or so. We learned that Juventus can win a game easily despite what we have been led to believe, and also that they can also win without Ronaldo on the pitch, if and only if Dybala and co. have a class performance as demonstrated vs Bologna. The culmination of the season finds a repetitive theme that has followed us these last few games, a push from the youth in the club to eventually reach the goal of champions league qualification. Now begins what is sure to be a bevy of offseason movements to put Juve back at the top of the Serie A and more.
Right off the bat, the reality of the game brought us the questionable decision of Ronaldo on the bench, thankfully his presence wasn’t needed as Dybala and Morata did more than their fair share. This game had absences from technical to Bentancour out due to suspension, despite the squad didn't skip a beat and did the job at hand. Early on Juve jumped to a 1-0 lead, after Morata gets to a loose ball and Kukusevski crossed to Rabiot who missed but once again Chiesa scored. What was notable throughout the early play and much of the game entirely was Dybala’s game creating dribbling and passing abilities which really showed. It looked like one of those Dybala performances of old, before the injury. His technical ability once again on the second goal showcased some of that close touch dribbling, a goal that in reality was more his than Morata's. Very early on and you felt like this game was already over, despite Bologna pressing a bit and pouncing on a bit of confusion in the Juve box especially on backpasses, a Rabiot goal after a sensational pass from Kulusevski ensured that Juve felt comfortable on their game result going into the half. This is the point where most fans started looking everywhere else rather than Juve’s own game ironically. At the half, Juve had essentially won their game, Milan was up 1-0 and Napoli was tied 0-0, Juve’s hope’s for the most part rested on a midtable Helas Verona holding on for at least a point vs. Napoli.
One of the main takeaways on this night is that Juve should never again put themselves into this position, period. The whole experience felt like how relegation-bound teams wait around for other results on the last day of the season to see if they are relegated or not. Thankfully, Juve did their job on this night and this night only. It seemed as though even without Ronaldo on the pitch, the team played relaxed, without pressure, and with control. If this was our last game with Ronaldo on our squad, it does give me a reason to hope. Not to diminish his contributions at all, but we have some bright spots in our other forwards as well. Most of the problems are truly down to consistency, can they perform as they did vs. Bologna vs. teams like Inter, Milan, or even Atalanta? That is where we still fall a step short. You can see and accept the fact that this team is deserved of a top-four finish and little else. The team was nowhere near Inter and it was indeed behind the other competing clubs. Acknowledging the positioning for the future and that we truly need a proper rebuild will need to be the deriving force this offseason. Results like the Hellas Verona draw vs Napoli only prove to show the continuous growth of this league and our opponents.