Woeful Juve slip to Napoli loss in first game of post-Ronaldo era
Juventus’ troubled start to the season continued on Saturday as they were the victims of a resounding 2-1 loss against Napoli.
Massimiliano Allegri’s side have been troubled by financial concerns for months, and these came to a head in the summer as they were forced into selling Cristiano Ronaldo to Manchester United for economic reasons on a deal completed on Deadline Day.
While Ronaldo banged in a couple of debut to help the Red Devils to a commanding 4-1 win over Newcastle, his former club were preparing for a match against Napoli having failed to win either of their opening two matches of the campaign.
Things seemed to be looking up for Allegri’s men at half-time as they led thanks to an 11th-minute strike from Alvaro Morata.
However, the match slipped away from them in the second half, with Matteo Politano levelling before centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly, who remains a player monitored by many of Europe’s top clubs, struck a winner five minutes from the end.
Simply because Napoli’s winner came late, though, does not mean it was ill deserved.
Napoli 69% Juventus 31%% possession first half— Carlo Garganese (@carlogarganese) September 11, 2021
Juve ahead through Morata from a Manolas mistake and are defending well
But God Juve are going to be a painful watch this season playing this Catenaccio every game #NAPJUV
Juve and Allegri under pressure
Indeed, they bossed the majority of the game, with Juventus, for so long Italy’s dominant force, managing only 32% possession over the fixture as a whole.
Defeat means that Juventus lie 16th in Serie A overnight and their prospects of regaining the title they lost to Inter last season already look slim.
Even with Ronaldo, they were forced to scramble into the Champions League at the last minute in 2020/21, and they will begin their European campaign with a trip to Malmo in midweek but face an altogether more ominous test next Sunday when they tackle Milan at home.
Failure to win these fixtures will have Allegri under early pressure as Juventus attempt to turn their difficult situation around.