Juventus vs SPAL: Prediction, pick, TV channel, live stream, watch Serie A online
Cristiano Ronaldo helped Juventus to a 2-0 win over Udinese at the Stadio Friuli in Serie A on Saturday. Ronaldo netted the Bianconeri’s second in the first half, after Rodrgio Bentancur had opened the scoring for the league leaders.
Ronaldo missed Juve’s 3-0 win over Young Boys in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday through suspension for the red card received against Valencia last month. He returned for league action amid a scandal involving allegations by American woman Kathryn Mayorga that he raped her in 2009.
He’s an unfashionable striker, but Mario Mandzukic’s throwback qualities make him an ideal complement for Ronaldo. The 32-year-old doesn’t receive praise often, but he proved his worth on his 100th appearance in the Italian top flight when he teed up Ronaldo with a deft pass eight minutes before the break:
While the assist showcased the underrated technique Mandzukic possesses, his physical powers remains most valuable to Ronaldo. His willingness to play with his back to goal and bully defenders in the air means Juve have a player who will keep Ronaldo out of the rigours up front.
Those are attributes in contrast to the flair and wizardry of Argentina international Paulo Dybala. Even so, Mandzukic’s straightforward game can be more important for Juve’s prolific No. 7.
Ronaldo can spend the season feeding off the knockdowns and lay-offs Mandzukic specialises in while allowing the Croatian to spare him the dirty work in attacking areas.
It’s a combination sure to lead to many goals for the Bianconeri’s record buy, as well one offering a reminder of Mandzukic’s enduring value.
As important as Mandzukic has become, Ronaldo will benefit more from fellow Portugal international Joao Cancelo as the season progresses.
The 24-year-old’s talent as a creator was shown off when he crossed for Rodrigo Bentancur to open the scoring. It was the signature moment of a brilliant first-half display from the former Benfica and Valencia man:
Summer signing Cancelo has added pace and relentless running from the flanks. He offers Juve manager Massimiliano Allegri the tactical flexibility to switch between 4-3-3 and 3-4-2-1 formations.
As his deliveries improve, Cancelo will become the player Ronaldo links up with most often.
A first goal in a Juve shirt was just reward for the way Bentancur ran the midfield. The ex-Boca Juniors ace met Cancelo’s cross with a firm header.
Bentancur is still just 21, but the Uruguay international is growing in influence for the Turin giants. Whether he’s paired with creative maestro Miralem Pjanic or workhorses Blaise Matuidi and Emre Can, Bentancur offers Allegri a complete midfielder.
He has the vision to manufacture chances between the lines and is aggressive enough to break up play and screen the defence if needed.
Juventus are seeing the steady maturation of a deep-lying playmaker who can be a key part of their midfield for years.
Juve are set to host Genoa next time out in the league on Saturday, October 20, with Udinese at home to Napoli on the same day.