With Champions League qualification rivals AC Milan and Inter dropping points. Juventus could have inched closer to the duo with a victory over Sassuolo, but goalkeeper Andrea Consigli played a huge part in overcoming the Bianconeri and won our Serie A Player of the Week for Matchday 30.
The Old Lady had been slowly chipping away at a 15-point deduction enforced for capital gains fraud, but after stumbling the previous weekend against Lazio, they slumped to defeat once more at the Mapei Stadium on Sunday evening as the Neroverdi triumphed 1-0.
On his 250th Serie A appearance, striker Gregoire Defrel capitalised on a loose ball in the box midway through the second half and fired a low shot past Mattia Perin. It was the Frenchman’s 50th top-flight goal and his third against Juventus, which is only bettered by the five scored when facing Napoli.
Consigli key to clean sheet
While Defrel scored the only goal of the game, it was at the other end of the pitch that Sassuolo ultimately secured victory. With 36-year-old goalkeeper and captain, Consigli, leading the team to three points with a performance full of calmness and assurance.
In addition to the ex-Atalanta custodian’s coolness under increasing pressure from the Bianconeri onslaught, Consigli also made a couple of crucial saves. The best came when Adrien Rabiot rose highest to meet a corner kick which allowed the Italian to display his excellent reflexes and agility to tip the ball over the crossbar.
Quiet weekend for strikers
One reason for Consigli picking up the player of the week honours was the surprising absence of goals in Serie A on Matchday 30. Many of the peninsula’s attackers struggled to find the back of the net and two of the countries leading clubs, AC Milan and Napoli, rested several players ahead of their Champions League quarter-final second leg.
Just two teams scored more than one goal during the 10 matches played and both came from the capital. On Friday night, Lazio breezed past Spezia 3-0 and 48 hours later, bitter city rivals AS Roma recorded the same scoreline against Udinese. That resulted in the duo taking control of second and third place in the standings respectively.