It did. Juventus won 3-0 courtesy of a brace from Cristiano Ronaldo and a goal from Winston McKennie. The Italians had to better Barcelona’s 2-0 victory over them in Turin in October to steal top spot, and they did.
The big story around the evening was the presence of Lionel Messi and Ronaldo, widely considered to be two of the greatest footballers in history, who were lining up against each other for the first time since the latter departed from Real Madrid in the summer of 2018.
For Juventus coach Andrea Pirlo, still in the opening months of his reign, however, the imperative was maintaining focus following their 2-1 derby victory over Torino at the weekend.
“It was important for our journey that we pick up where we left off in the derby. When you start with that focus, concentration and determination, then the quality emerges,” the coach told Sky Sport Italia in comments carried by Football Italia.
“We had prepared the match to create superiority in midfield with three against their two, the midfielders like McKennie able to push up, as we knew they had difficulty stopping them pushing up through the middle.
“The tactical plan worked and then the players did really well to make the most of the scoring opportunities.”
Late in the game, there was a moment where Ronaldo tracked back and made an important challenge on Messi in a position that could have spelled danger for Juventus.
“Ronaldo was very motivated to put in a good performance here against his eternal rival, so when you’re that motivated, it becomes simple,” Pirlo said.
“There are many games in a season and it’s easier to get fired up for fixtures like this, but we mustn’t lose sight of the real target, which is Serie A, so we have to be this concentrated and committed there too.”
Featured image courtesy of Sports Illustrated.