Juventus 2-2 Atalanta: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Ronaldo Penalties Save Hosts

Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo scored a last-gasp equalising penalty. | Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

Juventus had to rely on two penalties to salvage a point against Atalanta at the Allianz Stadium, as Cristiano Ronaldo came to the rescue once again in a frenetic 2-2 draw.

The visitors dominated the opening stages, and took the lead on 16 minutes when Duvan Zapata latched on to a cute Alejandro Gomez reverse pass to rifle home from inside the penalty area.

FBL-ITA-SERIEA-JUVENTUS-ATALANTA-HEALTH-VIRUS
FBL-ITA-SERIEA-JUVENTUS-ATALANTA-HEALTH-VIRUS | MARCO BERTORELLO/Getty Images

Juventus were handed the opportunity to level the scores with a penalty eight minutes into the second half - the first of two handball offences - and Cristiano Ronaldo duly obliged, rifling the ball to the goalkeeper's right.

Both sides pushed hard to find a winner, and Ronaldo was denied a super second by a smart save from Pierluigi Gollini. And that stop proved vital when substitute Ruslan Malinovskiy blasted a clinical strike beyond Wojciech Szczęsny to restore the visitors' lead with ten minutes remaining.

I Bianconeri fought desperately to get back on level terms, and a second handball infringement allowed Ronaldo to expertly slot home from 12 yards for the second time.

Juventus

Key Talking Point

When Juventus supporters ran their eyes over the starting lineup for Saturday's fixture, they must have immediately feared the worst. The sight of Juan Cuadrado and Danilo protecting I Bianconeri's flanks would strike fear into any supporter, and their deficiencies were painfully evident once more.

Juan Cuadrado
AC Milan v Juventus - Serie A | Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

Atalanta's system means they overload the wide areas, and Juve's full-backs had no answer to the relentless visitors. Cuadrado was caught out of position time and time again, while Gomez's fluid movement left Danilo helpless in trying to pick up the Argentine or his partner in crime, Josep Ilicic.

Frankly, it's baffling that I Bianconeri are so poor in the full-back area and if they hold any ambitions of winning the Champions League anytime soon, they must address this area as a matter of urgency.

Player Ratings

Starting XI: Szczęsny (7), Cuadrado (5), De Ligt (7), Bonucci (6), Danilo (5), Rabiot (7), Bentancur (6), Matuidi (6), Bernardeschi (5), Dybala (8)*, Cristiano Ronaldo (7)

Substitutes: Sandro (6), Costa (7), Higuain (6), Ramsey (6),

Paulo Dybala

This boy is the real star of the Juventus team. While Cristiano Ronaldo will regularly grab the headlines for his decisive penalties (two in this case), Dybala is head and shoulders above all his teammates. It was a frustrating night for I Bianconeri, who struggled to find any rhythm in attack, but everything they did produce stemmed from the Argentine's individual brilliance.

Paulo Dybala, Jose Palomino
Juventus v Atalanta BC - Serie A | Jonathan Moscrop/Getty Images

The ball was glued to Dybala's foot when in possession, and he ran tirelessly in behind Atalanta's defence to stretch the game and work openings for his teammates.

He also pulled off a moment of breathtaking magic in the first half, plucking an almost impossibly difficult long ball from the stratosphere with his right foot, before striking a sweet shot in the same motion with his left, which went narrowly wide.

As a playmaker, a striker, or a wide player, Dybala can do it all. But Maurizio Sarri must decide where he wants to put la Joya long-term - and he must build this Juve team around him.

Atalanta

Key Talking Point

Is this the best-drilled team in Europe? While Atalanta are in this form, their supporters should be dreaming of Champions League glory. That is no joke, either. Defensively they can be rather erratic, yes, but Gian Piero Gasperini's men are the most exciting team in the world when in full flight.

Duvan Zapata
Juventus v Atalanta BC - Serie A | Jonathan Moscrop/Getty Images

It's not often that Juventus are forced to sit deep and feed off scraps from the first whistle, but they were given no other choice by Atalanta - who squeezed the life out of the hosts with their in sync pressing and fluid forward line. When Gomez, Zapata and Ilicic are on the same wavelength, there is literally no stopping them.

It took two very harsh handball decisions, but Atalanta have finally been stopped. For now.

Player Ratings

Starting XI: Gollini (8), Rafael Tolói (8), Palomino (8), Djimsiti (8), Hateboer (8), De Roon (7), Freuler (8), Castagne (7), Gómez (9*), Iličić (7), Zapata (8)

Substitutes: Pasalic (7), Muriel (8), Malinovskiy (8), Tameze (7), Caldara (7)

Alejandro Gomez

The best player in Serie A? It's hard to argue otherwise at the moment. Having already broken the Serie A record for the most assists in one season, Gomez added another to his portfolio early on against the Italian champions. His invention, bravery, and technical brilliance on the ball is truly a privilege to witness.

Gomez consistently dropped deep into pockets of space, ducking and diving tackles to keep hold of the ball despite significant pressure. His composure on the ball flowed through his teammates, who matched their captain's endeavour and desire to win the ball back at all costs.

For those who have watched Serie A over the last few years, the genius of Gomez comes as no surprise. For the others who are waking up to his magic now, make the most of it folks.

Looking Ahead

Juventus continue their title challenge with a trip to in-form Sassuolo, before entertaining Lazio in a top-of-the-table clash in Turin.

Atalanta will be aiming to pick up six points from their next two matches, when La Dea welcomes basement club Brescia to Bergamo.