Cagliari vs. Juventus: Winners and Losers from Serie A Game

Jerrad Peters@@jerradpetersWorld Football Staff WriterDecember 18, 2014

Cagliari vs. Juventus: Winners and Losers from Serie A Game

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    Juventus ensured themselves top spot in Serie A heading into the winter break after beating Cagliari 3-1 on Thursday.

    Carlos Tevez opened the scoring inside three minutes, and Arturo Vidal and Fernando Llorente also found the back of the net for the Bianconeri. Luca Rossettini scored the lone goal for the hosts.

    Cagliari remain third from bottom through 16 rounds, while Juventus are four points clear of AS Roma atop the table.

    Overall, there were a handful of standout performances at Stadio Sant'Elia and others that were rather less impressive.

    Following are the winners and losers from the encounter.

Winner: Angelo Ogbonna, Who Was Solid in Defense for Juventus

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    Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri has had to shuffle the deck in front of goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon quite often of late, and on Thursday it was Leonardo Bonucci who was missing through suspension.

    But Angelo Ogbonna slotted into the Italy international's spot alongside Georgio Chiellini and ended up playing one of his best games of the season for the Bianconeri.

    According to Squawka, the 26-year-old completed 87 percent of his passes, won all of his tackles and aerial duels and made seven clearances.

    "Credit where it's due—Ogbonna played very well today and he was actually tested a few times," tweeted Sirius XM pundit David Amoyal.

Loser: Alessio Cragno, Who Was at Fault for 2 Juventus Goals

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    Alessio Cragno had a night to forget between the sticks for Cagliari.

    Less than three minutes had ticked off the clock when he failed to deal with Giorgio Chiellini's effort from in close, and after picking up the loose ball, Carlos Tevez completed the easiest of finishes to open the scoring.

    Then, in the 65th minute, Cragno allowed Fernando Llorente's shot to creep under his arm for the third Juventus goal of the night.

    As Bleacher Report's Peter Galindo tweeted: "Can't allow that to happen as a goalkeeper."

Winner: Arturo Vidal, Who Scored a Wondrous Winner

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    Arturo Vidal was ever-present for Juventus on Thursday, impacting the game on both sides of the ball.

    In the 15th minute, his well-taken, perfectly-placed curler from distance beat Alessio Cragno to the far corner for what would prove to be the winning goal of the match.

    After that, the Chile international committed himself to his defensive responsibilities.

    In the 35th minute, he did well to dispossess Victor Ibarbo, who was holding up play for Cagliari, and in the 50th minute, he moved over to his right to bail out teammate Stephan Lichtsteiner and close down Andrea Cossu.

Loser: Luca Ceppitelli, Who Wasn't Strong Enough to Hold off Llorente

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    Luca Ceppitelli should have done better in the buildup to the third Juventus goal.

    Having watched Fernando Llorente bring down Andrea Pirlo's accurate, arcing pass, the Cagliari defender anchored himself to the Spanish forward and should have prevented him shooting.

    Instead, he allowed Llorente to spin off him and deliver a low shot that beat goalkeeper Alessio Cragno to the far corner.

Winner: Patrice Evra, Who Is Gradually Improving at Juventus

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    Patrice Evra hasn't exactly taken Serie A by storm, but the left-back has shown recent improvement. On Thursday, he put in one of his best performances since joining Juventus.

    From the get-go, the former Manchester United man looked keen to swing in crosses from out wide, and he also made important tackles on Victor Ibarbo and Godfred Donsah. Impressively, he also made five interceptions, according to Squawka.

    As Sirius XM pundit David Amoyal tweeted, Evra has enjoyed "a good stretch of games in the past two weeks."

Loser: Stephan Lichtsteiner, Who Invited Attackers to Run at Him

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    Much of what Cagliari mustered going forward came opposite Stephan Lichtsteiner, who didn't have the best of nights.

    The Juventus right-back found Danilo Avelar especially difficult to defend, and he repeatedly allowed both the Cagliari winger and attacker Andrea Cossu to gain space when running at him.

    Many of the hosts' best chances to score, including a late opportunity for substitute Caio that was snuffed out by Angelo Ogbonna, were on Lichtsteiner's side of the pitch.

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