Four wins in five matches, Juventus end 2021 on a high

Juventus took advantage of Atalanta’s stalemate at Genoa with a 2-0 win over Cagliari which inched them closer to Serie A’s Champions League places.

Moise Kean’s header five minutes before the break and Federico Bernardeschi’s precise finish after a break-away late on at the Allianz Stadium moved Juve to within four points of fourth place in Italy’s top flight, currently occupied by Atalanta.

Juve were missing Paulo Dybala and Federico Chiesa in attack and rarely clicked going forward while twice in the second half Cagliari, who haven’t won a league game since mid-October failed to put away gilt-edged chances following sloppy defending from the hosts.

Under-fire Cagliari coach Walter Mazzarri could hardly believe his eyes when, picked out completely alone on the hour mark by Raoul Bellanova’s perfect low cross, Dalbert somehow fired wide with the goal at his mercy.

And eight minutes later Joao Pedro, just about the only bright prospect for the Sardinian side this season with his nine Serie A goals, headed straight at Szczesny from point-blank range.

Bernardeschi’s first goal in Serie A since July 2020 late on condemned second-from-bottom Cagliari to their third defeat on the bounce, although one that was less humiliating than the previous two 4-0 thumpings.

Bernadeschi celebrates his first Serie A goal since July, 2020

A fourth win in five matches means Massimiliano Allegri’s side end 2021 on a high but it was another in a long line of underwhelming performances from the Italian outfit, who sit fifth nine points behind league leaders Inter Milan ahead of their home clash with Torino on Wednesday.

After the winter break they face a true test of their ambitions for the season, with matches against Napoli, Roma, AC Milan and Atalanta all coming by mid-February.

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