Nigerian defender William Troost-Ekong and his Udinese teammates were in Turin for Friday night’s Serie A fixture against runaway leaders Juventus.
Although Cristiano Ronaldo was rested by Juventus ahead of their crucial Champions League second leg round of 16 clash againstAtletico Madrid next week.
But the absence of Ronaldo did not stop Juventus from routing Udinese 4-1 and Troost-Ekong who led the defence for the Black and Whites had no answers.
In the absence of the Portuguese and some other key Juventus players, it was 19-year-old Moise Kean, in his first league start of the season that gave Troost-Ekong a torrid time in the game.
Kean at times was the fast for the Nigerian defender but Ekong-Troost was cautious and vigilant.
His watchful eyes, however, were not enough to stop the young Italian from scoring. In the 11th minute, Troost-Ekong failed to get to a cross from the left inside the Udinese box, he slid but his leg could not reach the ball which fell to Kean to give Juventus the lead.
The Nigerian defender had run out of position and was not quick enough to cover up and intercept the crossing.
It was a mistake that proved costly for him and his teammates.
He didn’t make the same mistake some minutes later when he made a timely run to make the space tighter for Federico Bernardeschi who saw his shot way above the goal.
Kean scored again in the 39th minute but this time Troost-Ekong was not at fault as he could only watch as the Juventus striker’s quick feet dazed his teammate Ben Wilmot before driving a low shot past Udinese goalkeeper to double Juventus’ lead.
The poor marking by his teammates to allow Kean to run from deep into the Udinese box before scoring frustrated Troost-Ekong who slammed his fist into the pitch in protest.
Troost-Ekong coped well in his individual duels with Kean well for most of the game. But the young Italian looked more dangerous when he faced other Udinese players.
Like when he outpaced and out-muscled Nicholas Opoku before the Ghanaian defender fell him in the box to earn a penalty for Emre Canto extend Juventus’ lead.
For Juventus fourth of the night, a cross well over Troost-Ekong toBlaise Matuidi who escaped the marker to get himself on the scoresheet with a header.
It was a hard night for him and his teammates who could not stop a much-changed Juventus side from getting their 24th league win of the season.
It was also the first time this season Juventus scored more than three goals in a game.