Zenit 0-1 Juventus: Late Kulusevski header snatches win for visitors | UCL 2021-22

Dejan Kulusevski, Weston McKennie and Moise Kean of Juventus
Dejan Kulusevski, Weston McKennie and Moise Kean of Juventus - IMAGO / NurPhoto

Juventus needed a late Dejan Kulusevski’s goal to give them a win against Zenit in the Champions League on Wednesday.

The Italian side travelled to Russia with six points from their opening group games and needed a huge performance to maintain their momentum and keep them on top of the group.

Massimilano Allegri‘s side beat Chelsea 2-0 the last time they played in the Champions League. But on Wednesday, they struggled to find a way past Zenit and had to wait till the 86th minute to find the breakthrough.

In an evenly contested game, it was the home side who got the first big chance of the game in the 18th minute, with Claudinho drawing a top quality save from Wojciech Szczesny.

The chance was the only meaningful chance in the first half which saw Juventus control over 60% of the ball.

After the restart, the Old lady continued to control much of the game but without much success.

With his side still unable to score, Allegri turned to the bench to add some spark, bringing in Arthur and Juan Cuadrado. The pair of substitutions helped spark Juventus into life as they helped stretch the Zenit back line and create space for Alvaro Morata to score.

But with the Spaniard unable to take the chances that were opening up, Dejan Kulusevski‘s took the initiative to hand his side the lead when he nodded home De Siglio’s cross in the 86th minute.

The goal was enough to separate both teams and ensure that Juventus returned to the summit three points ahead of Chelsea.

Juventus continues hot streak

After a slow start to his second spell in Turin, Allegri has finally found his groove.

The Italian has successfully navigated a difficult first few months and is now leading Juventus slowly but steadily to where he wants them to be.

Before now, Juventus were not considered Champions League favourites due to their poor start to the season. But three games into the season, a lot of teams are beginning to take them seriously.

The win against Zenit extended the Old Lady’s winning run to six in all competitions and also ensured that they have not lost a game in eight competitive matches.

Win built on defensive solidity

Again, after conceding comical goals and poor defensive showings, Juventus have now mastered the art of keeping the opponent at bay.

Their win on Wednesday was built on a solid defence that didn’t allow the opponent much attempt at goal.

The result also means that they have now gone four games without conceding a goal after they conceded nine goals in the six games they played before that time.

Zenit content with third place

While Juventus played to maintain their grip on the top of the table, Zenit seemed to be playing to maintain their grip on third.

The Russian side already knows that Chelsea and Juventus are ahead of them and are looking to make third-place theirs instead.

On Wednesday, all they needed was a point to guarantee that they stay four points ahead of hapless Malmo who are rock bottom without a point and a goal. But the hosts were undone late in the game and will now hope they can make up for these dropped points when they travel to Turin in a fortnight for the reverse of this fixture.