Cristiano Ronaldo's Late Equaliser Gives Juventus 1-1 Draw vs. Torino in Serie A

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistMay 3, 2019

Juventus' Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo reacts during the Italian Serie A football match Juventus vs Torino on May 3, 2019 at the 'Allianz stadium' in Turin. (Photo by MARCO BERTORELLO / AFP)        (Photo credit should read MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP/Getty Images)
MARCO BERTORELLO/Getty Images

Cristiano Ronaldo headed in a late equaliser to help Juventus draw 1-1 with Torino in the Turin derby at the Allianz Stadium on Friday night. Ronaldo's 84th-minute goal denied the visitors a win after Sasa Lukic had given them an early lead after 18 minutes.

The stalemate saw champions Juve drop points for just the seventh time in Serie A this season.

   

Cristian Romero Won't Be Enough to Fix Deteriorating Defence

The good news is Juventus aren't ignoring the obvious need to fix a defence deteriorating thanks to age and performance. Genoa president Enrico Preziosi confirmed as much when he revealed Cristian Romero "will go to" Juve, per Primocanale (h/t Goal's Ben Spratt).

The bad news is signing the 21-year-old Argentinian centre-back won't be enough to bolster the defence sufficiently. There isn't enough pace and power along a back line featuring 34-year-old Giorgio Chiellini, 32-year-old Leonardo Bonucci and Andrea Barzagli, 37.

Evidence hasn't been in short supply this season that this trio needs to be refreshed or replaced altogether. The latest proof was the time and space afforded to Torino midfielder Sasa Lukic to arrow a shot into the bottom corner, good enough for an 18th-minute lead for the visitors.

Nobody across Juve's back four was quick enough to close Lukic down or strong and decisive enough to get a block in. Chiellini and Bonucci also struggled to deal with the movement and touches of Torino striker Andrea Belotti, who made a telling contribution to help create the goal.

Belotti and Lukic continued to torment Juve's plodding defence with their runs and strength.

Torino's success wasn't just an isolated example of the Bianconeri's growing vulnerability at the back. Instead, it's part of a pattern of failings emphasising the decline of what used to be Juve's primary strength.

Perhaps the most damning example was the defeat by Ajax in the UEFA Champions League last eight. Seeing Juve out-moved and out-thought by a precocious squad of youthful talents signalled now is the time for Juventus to get younger defensively.

Juventus won't win next season's Champions League without more defensive reinforcements than Romero.
Juventus won't win next season's Champions League without more defensive reinforcements than Romero.Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

Ronaldo won't be able to bring a UEFA Champions League trophy to Juve without the support of a solid unit capable of frustrating Europe's best. Constructing one will require more than merely signing Romero.

   

What's Next?

Juve are away to AS Roma on Sunday, May 12, while Torino are in action for a home fixture against Sassuolo on the same day.

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