Massimiliano Allegri Discusses Medhi Benatia, Moise Kean After Bologna Win

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistJanuary 12, 2019

Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri gestures during the Champions League group H soccer match between Juventus and Valencia at the Allianz stadium in Turin, Italy, Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2018. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)
Antonio Calanni/Associated Press

Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri spoke to the press after his side's Coppa Italia win over Bologna on Saturday to reveal Medhi Benatia will miss the Supercoppa Italiana match against AC Milan because of injury and praise teen scorer Moise Kean, who filled in for Cristiano Ronaldo.

As Rai Sport reported, the Juventus boss was happy to book a spot in the quarter-finals and praised some of his backups, including Leonardo Spinazzola and Federico Bernardeschi, who all impressed (h/t Football Italia):

"I am satisfied with qualification, as it wasn’t easy to win at Bologna in our first game after the winter break.

"Wednesday is a one-off match, we already lost to them before on penalties, so hope to at least not go through extra time and penalties. We’re ready to play.

"Kean is young, he needs to grow, but he did well. Leonardo Spinazzola also had a good performance after a long injury lay-off.

"Bernardeschi was visibly back in shape both physically and psychologically during training. With Mandzukic out at the moment, all these players become important.

"Benatia got hurt with a groin inflammation in the warm-up, so he won’t take part in Jeddah. We’re already without Andrea Barzagli, but hope to have Joao Cancelo back."

Daniele Rugani was supposed to start Saturday's clash but dropped out with a muscular injury, per Football Italia. That promoted Benatia into the starting XI, but he was unable to play.

Despite those setbacks, Juventus cruised to the next round of the tournament. Bernardeschi opened the scoring early, courtesy of a major defensive blunder, and Kean doubled the lead in the second half.

The 18-year-old was making his first start for the senior side, with Ronaldo, Paulo Dybala and other top starters taking a spot on the bench. Kean impressed throughout the contest and was replaced by Ronaldo after 60 minutes.

Het Nieuwsblad's Vince Van Genechten liked what he saw:

Spinazzola's first start of the season was perhaps even more impressive, as the Italy international put together an excellent showing in place of Alex Sandro. Finally back from injury, the left-back did not look out of place.

With Joao Cancelo still a question mark for Wednesday's Supercoppa in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, this match could be seen as something of an audition for the 25-year-old. A right-footed left-back who can also help out on the other side of defence, he could be a key depth piece.

He passed his audition with flying colours, according to the fans:

Ronaldo, Dybala and Sandro are all expected to go back into the starting XI for the Supercoppa, while Rodrigo Bentancur and Blaise Matuidi could go into midfield. Emre Can had a solid outing against Bologna, but Sami Khedira struggled.

Saturday's outing showed Juventus' fringe players are up to the task, and Allegri appeared to notice. That can only be good news for their playing time.

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