Juventus were fortunate to escape Verona with a point on Saturday evening, drawing 1-1 with Hellas to stumble again in their failing title defence.
Andrea Pirlo’s side started brightly, with Federico Chiesa forcing an early excellent save from home goalkeeper Marco Silvestri. But the hosts grew into the game and forced Juve to endure some nervy first half moments, using their pace in attack to disrupt the makeshift backline.
La Vecchia Signora put that pressure to one side and found their breakthrough four minutes into the second half, when Chiesa rolled the ball across to Cristiano Ronaldo, who slid an accurate strike low into the corner of the net.
But having taken the lead, Juve inexplicably sat back and allowed Verona to get back into the game. They paid for their casual approach with just over ten minutes to go, as Antonin Barak rose highest to plant a perfect header into the corner past Wojciech Szczęsny.
Verona continued to press for the winner, and Darko Lazovic gave the champions a huge scare after rattling the crossbar with a fierce drive from the edge of the box. Juventus survived though and put the pressure on in the final minutes, Ronaldo hitting a late free-kick straight at the wall.
Here’s the player ratings from a disappointing night for I Bianconeri in Verona.
1. Goalkeeper & Defenders
Dejan Kulusevski (ST) – 6/10 – Dropped deep to link up play and to slip between the lines. Couldn’t get into the second half as Juve sat back.
Cristiano Ronaldo (ST) – 7/10 – Struggled to make his mark on the game in the first half, but opened the scoring in the second with a typically ruthless finish.