Juventus 4-0 Cagliari: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Ronaldo Treble Helps Bianconeri Go Top

​Cristiano Ronaldo bagged a hat-trick as Juventus breezed past Cagliari at the Allianz Stadium, running out 4-0 winners and returning to the top of Serie A in the process. 

In what was a goalless first-half, Cagliari were well-organised in their 4-3-2-1 shape and defended resolutely, ensuring that Robin Olsen had little to do in between the sticks. Aaron Ramsey, Paulo Dybala and Alex Sandro all had half-chances while Merih Demiral hit the bar with a bullet header from a Miralem Pjanic corner.

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Things quickly went south for Cagliari in the second period, however, finding themselves 1-0 down within three second-half minutes after Cristiano Ronaldo latched onto a square ball across the box by Ragnar Klavan before rounding Olsen and finishing home expertly.

The home side nearly doubled their lead swiftly after Ronaldo’s opener after Olsen made a smart double save: first denying Dybala before preventing a Klavan ricochet from looping into the back of the net.

The Swedish shot-stopper could do little to prevent Ronaldo from getting his second of the game as the Portugues star converted from the penalty spot after Dybala was brought down in the box by Marko Rog.

Substitute Gonzalo Higuain made it three after cutting inside from the left channel and firing past Olsen from the edge of the area – via a Walukiewicz deflection. Juve’s superb second-half display was rounded off by the main man Ronaldo, who completed his hat-trick after finishing under Olsen with his left-foot.

Despite a late flurry from Cagliari, Wojciech Szczęsny came out of it unscathed, holding on to his clean sheet.


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Key Talking Point

An important victory for the home side, and one that not many would’ve saw coming at half-time – especially the manner of their victory.

In the first-half, I Bianconeri kept the ball brilliantly and dominated the visitors territorially – as you’d expect. Despite this, they were void of any creativity and penetration in the final third and were often playing in front of the Rossublu block.

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Nevertheless, the home side’s defensive display would’ve pleased their Italian boss. The two centre-backs were largely untroubled as a result of the stout and industrious work of Juve’s midfield trio – who hassled the visitors’ midfield three and ensured that Cagliari’s two key creators – Joao Pedro and Radja Nainggolan – had little effect on proceedings. 

Ronaldo’s opener – gifted by Cagliari – was certainly a turning point. Their creators started to have more freedom between the lines while they moved the ball at a pace that the away side simply couldn’t compete with. It wasn’t until I Bianconeri had ruthlessly put four past Olsen before Cagliari started to threaten Juve’s goal. 

Overall, a very good performance by the hosts – especially in the second period. Over to you, Inter.


Player Ratings

Starting XI: Szczesny (6); Cuadrado (7), Demiral (6), Bonucci (6), Sandro (6); Rabiot (7), Pjanic (7), Matuidi (6); Ramsey (5); Dybala (8), Ronaldo (9).

Subs: Higuain (7), Costa (7), Can (6)


STAR PLAYER – Despite Adrien Rabiot’s elegance and Paulo Dybala’s craftiness, it’s hard to not pick the hat-trick hero as the stand out performer.

While he cut a frustrated figure in the first half, Cristiano Ronaldo came out of the break bright and lively – scoring his first after beating Walukiewicz to a poor Klavan pass before smartly finishing. After making no mistake from 12-yards, he set up Higuain for Juve’s third with a well-weighted ball into the left channel for the Argentine to pounce on. 

Ronaldo’s hat-trick was complete when Douglas Costa broke through the middle before laying it on a plate for the Portuguese star and he, despite a poor first touch, poked the ball under an onrushing Olsen. 

Amid his productivity in the final third, Ronaldo oozed confidence on the ball throughout and it was refreshing to see him play with a little more swagger in the second period – something we haven’t seen since Sarri’s arrival.


CAGLIARI 

Player Ratings

Starting XI: Olsen (6); Cacciatore (5), Walukiewicz (7), Klavan (7), Pellegrini (6); Nandez (6), Cigarini (6), Rog (4); Nainggolan (5), Pedro (5); Simeone (5).

Subs: Farago (5), Cerri (5), Oliva (5).


Looking Ahead

Up next for Juventus is a tricky trip to Roma on Sunday night before starting their Coppa Italia campaign at home to Udinese the following Wednesday.

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Cagliari, meanwhile, host Milan in Serie A on Saturday afternoon prior to their Coppa Italia round of 16 clash at Inter.

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