TURIN: Second-half goals by Nicolo Fagioli and Gleison Bremer earned Juventus a comfortable 2-0 win against second-bottom Cremonese in Serie A on Sunday (May 14), but the result was soured by another injury to midfielder Paul Pogba.
Pogba, who returned to Juventus last summer but has struggled with injury since, began the game well as he started a match for the first time since last April when he played for Manchester United at Liverpool.
But the Frenchman only lasted a little over 20 minutes before he injured himself again and left the field in tears, heading straight down the tunnel as he was replaced by Arkadiusz Milik.
“I needed him as an added striker,” coach Massimiliano Allegri said. “In such situations you have to hope that nothing happens. Sooner or later I had to try (and start him).
“We’re all sorry, he was also doing fairly well and without him we struggled to find positions. Now he’ll definitely have to pause again, he felt pain.”
Italian media reported that the midfielder, who also started his first Serie A game since May 2016, suffered a muscle issue.
Second-placed Juventus, who on Thursday travel to Sevilla for their Europa League semi-final second leg with the tie poised at 1-1, moved eight points clear of fifth-placed AC Milan in the battle for a top-four finish and a Champions League spot.
Allegri rotated his lineup ahead of the Europa League clash and Mattia Perin replaced Wojciech Szczesny in goal, while Alex Sandro, Fabio Miretti, Manuel Locatelli, Filip Kostic and Angel Di Maria started on the bench.
Juventus dominated their lowly opponents from the start but had little to say in front of goal in the first half, with two shots on target by Bremer and Milik saved by goalkeeper Marco Carnesecchi.
The Cremonese keeper was tested more after the break and could not keep out a stunning shot in the 55th minute by Fagioli, who fired the ball into the top of the net from a cross by Federico Chiesa.
Going into the game, Carnesecchi had made the most saves in the big five European leagues in 2023 (80).
Milik thought he had beaten the experienced keeper in the 74th minute but his effort was ruled out for offside.
Yet Bremer sealed the win with a close-range header five minutes later as Juve became the first team to exceed 4,800 points in Serie A history.