Weston McKennie made his successful return from injury to guide Juventus to a win, while Venezia’s pair of Americans, Gianluca Busio and Tanner Tessmann, both started in their draw on the road.
FC Bologna 0 – 2 Juventus
Weston McKennie was back on the field for Juventus, and back to his old self, starting and playing 72 minutes in the midfield, while contributing to their winning goal in their shut-out victory over hosts Bologna.
McKennie lined up on the right side of the Juve midfield alongside Arthur in the middle and Adrian Rabio on the left in an attack-minded 4-3-3 put out by Massimiliano Allegri. In his 72 minutes of play before being subbed out for Rodrigo Bentacur, the American had a total of 39 touches, completed 17 of his 21 passes, and picked up a yellow card in the first half.
The Bianconeri already did what they needed to do in the opening moments, already putting away what was ultimately the winning goal in the sixth minute.
After McKennie helped to crowed Mattias Svanberg off the ball in Juve’s defense half of the field, Arthur gained possession and quickly found Alvaro Morata to initiate the counter. The Spaniard swung it out wide to Federico Bernadeschi, wove his way into the area, then one-timed the return pass near the right post for the 1-0 lead.
While Bologna by all counts dominated the flow of the game, holding 58% of possession and completing 140 more passes than their visitors, they couldn’t break through, and were dealt the death blow just over 20 minutes before full time.
This time, Adrien Rabot moved forward on the left and shifted the ball to Morata several yards towards the center. Spotting his teammate Juan Cuadrado on the right side space, Alvaro fired it across the field. With the ball at his foot, the Colombian froze his defender by faking a run, then fired his shot from the upper right corner of the area to just inside the far post.
Juventus finish the weekend in seventh place with the win, now only six points out of the Champions League places. They close out their 2021 schedule with a home game against Cagliari on Tuesday evening.
Sampdoria 1 – 1 Venezia FC
Both Gianluca Busio and Tanner Tessmann started in Venezia’s midfield, however both were pulled in tactical switches before the team’s eventual late equalizer in an important draw at Sampdoria on Sunday.
An evenly-played game by both teams saw all of the excitement reserved for the opening and closing moments. Busio and Tessmann lined up on the right and left sides of a three-man midfield, played 69 and 58 minutes before making way for Domen Crnigoj and Venezia goalscorer Thomas Henry, respectively.
The hosts needed all of 38 seconds to open the scoring, winning the ball in midfield and stringing together several lightning fast passes to advance into Venezia’s danger zone. Tommaso Augello launched a cross from the left flank to Francesco Caputo just right of center. He tapped it forward into the path of Manolo Gabbiadini who lunged out with his left leg to strike it into Sergio Romero’s goal.
Tessmann was perhaps the more aggressive of the two Americans on the field, and, for the second time in as many Serie A games, showed his flare for the dramatic with an attempted overhead kick from short range in the 48th minute from a cross by Mattia Aramu went well over the target.
In the end, it would be Tessmann’s more attack-oriented substitute, Thomas Henry, who would save the day for the visitors.
With under four minutes left on the clock, a giveaway in the center of the park by Adrien Silva, thanks to good positioning by Venezia’s Antonio Vacca, saw the ball deflected towards the Sampdoria goal, directly in the path of the onrushing Henry. The Frenchman charged forward, juked his defender to make space at the edge of the area, and looped his shot into the right side of goal for the equalizer.
The point on the road gives Venezia a seven-point gap ahead of the relegation places as the season nears its halfway point. They face one more test before the Christmas break, a tough home game against Lazio on Wednesday afternoon.
Bryan Reynolds has been with the US National Team in California recently, and was not around for Roma’s 4-1 win at Atalanta.
Giuseppe Barone was not on Ascoli’s bench on Saturday for their pitiful 4-1 home loss to Cremonese.
Andrija Novakovich was an unused substitute on Frosinone’s bench on Saturday as they easily blew past SPAL Ferrara by a 4-0 score.