Juventus have drawn 1-1 in the first game of 2022 against Napoli. Mertens gave the visitors the lead in the first half, while Federico Chiesa celebrated his return with a goal. Max Statman gives you a quick breakdown and player ratings.
There was some controversy before the match even started. Zielinski, Lobotka and Rrahmani were named in Napoli’s starting eleven, even though the ASL Napoli 2 Nord had ordered them to quarantine.
Juventus had a pretty good start to the game. The Bianconeri took some initiave, instead of the usual waiting. McKennie headed a corner from Bernardeschi inches wide after only a few minutes. The American midfielder should have given Juve the lead. Federico Chiesa was back from injury and showed himself early on. He made a good run and his shot merely missed the goal.
Napoli took the lead after 24 minutes. Alex Sandro couldn’t take the ball of Politano, who gave it to Mertens. The Belgian attacker’s shot went through Alex Sandro’s legs and Szczesny got a fingertip to it, which ruined De Ligt’s chance to clear it off the line. Juventus conceded for the first time since Venezia away.
Juve went back to old ways after a strong start, it seemed. Szczesny had to make a great save to keep Juve in the game. He tipped Zielinski’s shot over the bar.
Alex Sandro made his first half even worse when he got a yellow card after fouling Demme to stop Napoli’s counter attack. The following free kick on the edge of the box by Mertens went just over the goal.
Chiesa comeback completed
Juventus equalized ten minutes into the second half. McKennie fought and won the ball on Napoli’s backline. He crossed the ball towards Morata, who couldn’t put his head to it, but the ball fell to Chiesa. His shot took a slight deflection and beat Ospina.
The Bianconeri went looking for the lead immediately, but nobody was able to finish. Chiesa once again proved that he is well and truly back. His volley was stomped away by Ospina. Juve crawled back a little after a strong period.
Mertens caused the Juve defence a lot of trouble Thursday night. He got the ball inside the box with some luck, but Szczesny once again made an important stop.
Not only Chiesa made his comeback: Paulo Dybala came on to the pitch in the 65th minute. He tried to find the bottom right corner shortly after, but Ospina saved his shot with not too much trouble.
Juventus deserved a point against Napoli at the Allianz Stadium. With Chiesa and Dybala returning, Juventus gain some much needed creativity in attack. Daniele Rugani deserves praise for his performance tonight. Many Juventini, rightly, doubted him at the start of the season, but he has proved why Allegri wanted him to stay. Juventus will face Roma away from home on Sunday.
Cuadrado 6, De Ligt 6, Rugani 6.5, Alex Sandro 4.5;
McKennie 6.5, Locatelli 6.5, Rabiot 5;
Bernardeschi 6, Morata 5.5, Chiesa 7
Substitutes: Dybala 6, Bentancur 6, De Sciglio 6, Kean 6, Kulusevski (-)