Three takeaways from Juventus 2-1 Cagliari: Bianconeri defence produces a two-horse Serie A title race

The Juventus defence conceal their shortcomings in attack to help defeat Cagliari 2-1 on Matchday 12 of the 2023/24 Serie A campaign, and create a two-horse race with Inter for the title.

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The hopes of a legitimate Scudetto challenge from Juventus gathered pace on Matchday 12 of the 2023/24 Serie A campaign, as the Turin giants overcame Cagliari 2-1 at the Juventus Stadium.

Although the Bianconeri attackers struggled at times against the Sardinians, defenders Gleison Bremer and Daniele Rugani stepped in to take up the goalscoring burden, as counterpart Alberto Dossena netted a consolation for the visitors.

Daniele Rugani celebrates his winning goal against Cagliari (@juventusfc).

Is a two-way title race between Juventus and Inter developing?

With AC Milan struggling to build momentum – throwing away another two-goal lead against Lecce – and reigning champions Napoli understandably unable to replicate their stunning early season form from last term, the consistency shown by the Bianconeri and Inter has created two clear favourites for the Scudetto.

Just like the Nerazzurri, the Old Lady has built their title challenge through a defence that has conceded the least amount of goals in Serie A this term. One less than Inter. The ability to strangle the life out of opponents’ attack this season, securing eight clean sheets from 12 matches, has helped hide the fact that they have scored eight less than the Nerazzurri though.

The Derby D’Italia rivals will meet in Turin after the international break, putting Juventus‘ Scudetto credentials directly to the test against the Milanese giants.

How long can Massimiliano Allegri continue to start Moise Kean?

Moise Keans attempts to take on the Cagliari defence (@juventusfc).

As well as approaching a milestone 150th Serie A appearance, Juventus striker Dusan Vlahovic had an impressive record against Cagliari, with five goals against the Sardinians since arriving in Italy. However, Bianconeri coach Massimiliano Allegri persisted with Moise Kean in attack alongside Federico Chiesa, although he is yet to find the net this season.

For the 66 minutes the Italian international lasted before being replaced by the Serbian, there was much energetic running and very little output. When it looked like Kean could exploit the Rossoblu defence, he ran the ball into their defenders and was too slow to react when the ball broke his way in the box. After rounding the goalkeeper early in the second period, he cut back inside into a crowd of players, to the expected groans of the Juventus support.

With Vlahovic available again and Inter up next for the Bianconeri, the 23-year-old former Paris Saint-Germain loanee must take a leave of absence from the Juventus starting XI to improve their chances of success.

The Juventus defence key to victory again, but for different reasons.

Bremer rises to score the first Juventus goal against Cagliari (@juventusfc).

The Bianconeri had gone six games without conceding a goal and were looking to break their own Serie A record of eight consecutive clean sheets achieved last term. Particularly as four of those displays of defensive solidity had enabled narrow single-goal triumphs.

In addition, defender Federico Gatti had also scored the crucial goal to set them on the path to victory against Torino and holding midfielder Manuel Locatelli netted the crucial goal to defeat AC Milan. Against Cagliari, it was the defence again, this time literally, that rose to the occasion.

On 60 minutes, Bremer leapt virtually unmarked to head home a Dusan Tadic free kick and moments later Daniele Rugani bundled home a corner kick delivery from the Serbian wideman, after initially sending the ball against the crossbar.

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