Arthur bags first Juve goal in Bologna win to put pressure on Milan teams
Brazilian midfielder Arthur Melo scored his first goal for Serie A champions Juventus in a 2-0 win over Bologna on Sunday to pile the pressure on the Milan teams.
Andrea Pirlo’s side bounced back from last weekend’s 2-0 league defeat by Inter Milan, and followed on from their morale-boosting Italian Super Cup triumph over Napoli midweek.
AC Milan held top spot in Serie A on Saturday despite falling 3-0 at home against Atalanta after second-placed Inter were held to a goalless draw at Udinese.
Roma are third after a 4-3 win over Spezia on Saturday with Juventus moving fourth ahead of Atalanta into the Champions League berths, seven points behind AC Milan with a game in hand.
Juventus dominated 13th-placed Bologna in Turin with Arthur breaking through after quarter of an hour with a long-range shot that took a big deflection off Bologna defender Jerdy Schouten.
It was the first goal for the ex-Barcelona player in 19 appearances since joining Juventus last summer from the La Liga side in a transfer worth up to 82 million euros ($99 million).
US midfielder Weston McKennie got the second on 71 minutes nodding in off a corner, for his fourth goal in 21 games since moving from Bundesliga side Schalke.
“McKennie is always in the right place, he has great vision,” said Pirlo, hailing an “important” win after last week’s defeat to Inter in the San Siro.
“We are a strong team, it all depends on us. As we demonstrated in the Super Cup we are not the team seen in the San Siro.
“We did well in the first half but if you don’t manage to close it, the games always remain in the balance.”
Bologna could have suffered more but for goalkeeper Łukasz Skorupski denying Adrien Rabiot and Cristiano Ronaldo in the final four minutes, having also been decisive in the first half.
Dutch defender Matthijs de Ligt returned from coronaivrus, coming off the bench for the last quarter of an hour as Juventus extended their unbeaten run against Bologna going back a decade.
Napoli can overtake Juventus when they play at Hellas Verona later Sunday.
Nigerian striker Victor Osimhen returns for the southerners for the first time since November 8 after recovering from a shoulder injury and coronavirus.