Federico Chiesa was sent off on his Juventus debut as the Cristiano Ronaldo-less Serie A champions drew 1-1 with Crotone on Saturday.
Bereft of the talismanic Ronaldo, who is self-isolating after testing positive for COVID-19 while on international duty with Portugal, Juve looked far from their best at Stadio Ezio Scida.
Alvaro Morata’s first goal since rejoining the club on loan from Atletico Madrid cancelled out Simy’s early penalty for the hosts, but their hopes of going on to claim all three points were dealt a blow with 30 minutes remaining when Chiesa, who joined on loan from Fiorentina on transfer deadline day, received a straight red card.
Juve – whose veteran goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon made his 650th Serie A appearance – thought they had won it late on thanks to a close-range finish from Morata but he was deemed to be offside after a lengthy VAR review.
Crotone started with a spring in their step and were rewarded after 11 minutes when Simy stroked home from the penalty spot after Leonardo Bonucci had been adjudged to have fouled Arkadiusz Reca inside the area.
Juve bounced back nine minutes later when Morata slid home from four yards after being picked out by Chiesa.
Manolo Portanova – making his first appearance since May 2019 – was denied by Alex Cordaz at his near post shortly before the interval, while at the other end Buffon denied Pedro Pereira.
Rodrigo Bentancur flashed an effort wide immediately after the restart before Luca Cigarini whipped wide of Buffon’s left-hand post from a promising position on the edge of the area.
Chiesa then saw red for a late challenge on Cigarini, although Andrea Pirlo’s men almost stole ahead soon after when Morata flicked a header onto the post.
The Spain striker was denied a second inside the closing 15 minutes, with a VAR review showing that he was marginally offside when he turned home Juan Cuadrado’s low ball into the area.
A point moves Juve up to fourth, four points behind leaders Milan, while Crotone are off the bottom after picking up their first point of the season.
What does it mean? Juve lack goal threat without Ronaldo
Pirlo might feel his side should be returning to Turin with all three points, given the late drama surrounding Morata’s disallowed strike, but Crotone were good value for a point. They reduced their more illustrious opponents to just two shots on target – a statistic it is not hard to imagine would have been significantly higher had Ronaldo been available.
Morata does his bit up top
Morata did his best to cover for Ronaldo’s absence, opening his account in his second spell at the club, hitting the post with a deft header and coming agonisingly close to grabbing a late winner. Pirlo will demand more from his hold-up play, however, given he lost possession a whopping 20 times.
Chiesa’s promising start ends in tears
Chiesa looked sharp before his dismissal, making three key passes and laying on Morata’s goal. It is that red card his Juve bow will be remembered for, though, as he became the first player to receive his marching orders on his debut for the Bianconeri in the three-points-for-a-win era.
Key Opta Facts:
– Juventus have not won in six away Serie A games in a row for the first time since August 2010.
– Federico Chiesa is the first Juventus player, in the three points era, to receive a red card in his debut match for Juventus in Serie A.
– In his last three games against Crotone in Serie A Federico Chiesa has provided two assists and scored one goal.
– Juve have faced nine penalties in 2020 – in Serie A have only Fiorentina have faced more (10).
– Leonardo Bonucci is the player who has conceded the most penalties in 2020 in Serie A (four).
Juve start their Champions League campaign with a trip to Dynamo Kiev in Group G on Tuesday before hosting Hellas Verona in Serie A on Sunday – the same day Crotone travel to Cagliari.
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