Sassuolo 1-2 Juventus: Late Kean winner completes Bianconeri comeback
Moise Kean came off the bench to score a late winner as Juventus took a big stride towards securing a Champions League place with a 2-1 victory at Sassuolo.
Sassuolo were much the better side in the first half of the Serie A clash at MAPEI Stadium – Citta del Tricolore on Monday and they were rewarded when Giacomo Raspadori put them in front.
Paulo Dybala equalised on the stroke of half-time, though, and substitute Kean's first goal for two months in the 88th minute snatched a huge win for the Bianconeri.
Juve remain in fourth place with four games to play, eight points better off than Roma in fifth spot and just one behind Napoli.
Raspadori went close with a thunderous drive early on and Juve had another scare when Davide Frattesi headed Domenico Berardi's corner just over.
Wojciech Szczesny produced a brilliant reflex save to keep out a fierce strike from Gianluca Scamacca, but the Juve goalkeeper should have done better to stop a deserved Sassuolo opener in the 38th minute.
Berardi's clever flick in the penalty area set up the onrushing Raspadori, who beat Szczesny too easily at his near post with a left-footed finish.
Juve were fortune to only be one goal down, but they were level just before half-time, when Dybala lashed into the roof of the net and the goal stood following a VAR check on a possible foul by Alvaro Morata, who nearly put the visitors in front with a header that was palmed away by Andrea Consigli.
Dusan Vlahovic soon entered the fray but it was fellow substitute Kean who ultimately snatched the points for Juve when he turned his man and drilled a low finish under Consigli.
What does it mean? Juve's resilience means they look destined for Champions League
This was certainly not a vintage performance from Juve and they would surely have been content with a point in their quest for a top-four finish before Kean stepped up to win it.
Sassuolo caused them real problems and Massimiliano Allegri's men looked vulnerable at the back in the first half, with Rugani playing alongside Leonardo Bonucci in a makeshift defence.
Juve had won 16 points from losing positions in Serie A this season – with only Inter (19) having earned more – and showed their character to ensure they will surely be playing Champions League football again next season after a fourth successive away victory in the top flight.
Kean ends goal drought
Striker Kean had not found the back of the net since a 3-2 win at Empoli late in February.
He has only started 10 Serie A games this season, but made his case for another opportunity with a clinical finish.
Brilliant Berardi closes in on Ronaldinho's record
Sassuolo did not deserve to lose and Berardi was a huge threat throughout.
Once part-owned by Juve, he laid on the opening goal and deserved at least one of his own.
Indeed, he has now provided 12 assists in Serie A this season, which is the most by any forward in a single campaign in the competition since Ronaldinho in 2009-10 (14).
Key Opta facts
- Raspadori is the first Italian player born since the turn of the century to score at least 10 goals in a single Serie A campaign.
- Dybala has scored 81 goals in Serie A for Juventus, matching Cristiano Ronaldo in 10th place of the Bianconeri's all-time top scorers in the competition.
- Dybala has been involved in 14 goals this season in Serie A, scoring nine and assisting five. That is twice the amount of goals he was involved in across the whole of last season.
- Kean (16) and Raspadori (18) are the only two Italian players born in this Century with 15+ goals scored in Serie A.
- Juventus have conceded at least one goal in all their last four Serie A games -- only once the Bianconeri have registered a longer strike of matches without any clean sheet this season in Serie A.
Juve are at home to bottom side Venezia on Sunday, while Sassuolo could do them a favour when they travel to third-placed Napoli on Saturday.