Parma 0-1 Juventus
Scorers: Morata 89 (J)
Coppa Italia – Quarter Finals [Wednesday, 28th January – 19:45 GMT] – Stadio Ennio Tardini
After wreaking havoc upon the two Verona sides, Juventus found themselves in a Quarter-Final clash with the struggling of the seven sisters, Parma. Despite the massive 40 point gap that separates the league leaders from Parma who sit in dead last, the Gialloblu managed to create a number of problems for the visiting Bianconeri on Captain Gigi Buffon’s 37th birthday.
Juventus started the match extremely sloppy, misplacing passes in dangerous areas and losing control of the midfield, partially due to very high pressure from the home side. It seemed as though the combination of terminating the contract of Antonio Cassano and playing old rivals at the Tardini was enough for Parma to put up a real will to fight.
Max Allegri went into the match with the somewhat unfamiliar 4-3-3, which saw a trident of 18-year-old Kingsley Coman and Simone Pepe supporting the towering Fernando Llorente on the wings. What is seemingly a classic 4-3-3 with two quick flanks and a tall, strong target-man was expectedly formidable on paper. On the pitch, however, Fernando Llorente failed to do much at all and was often times caught either offside or fouling the opposition’s defense. Coman and Pepe, on the other hand, deemed quite exciting and were arguably the only two players of any significance for the majority of the match, making a number of runs around the area and pulling the trigger on their respective crosses towards the 6-yard-box.
The first half deemed drastically dull and consisted mainly of misplaced passes and a number of fouls from the two sides and frustration was noticeably beginning to set-in by the end of the first half in a match that Juventus and its fans would have expected to be a walk in the park noting the significant gulf in class between I Gobbi and I Crociati, especially after having beaten Parma 7-0 earlier in the season.
The first half ended 0-0 without any concrete opportunities from either team aside from a fluke cross from Simone Pepe which managed to hit the post, but miraculously couldn’t find its way into the back of the net. Frustration ensued and Fernando Llorente was simply having a rough day at the office. Luckily, the second half arrived at the perfect time and Allegri was able to regroup and discuss tactics with his struggling troops. Although, it wasn’t until the 71st minute that the Mister had made his first change in the lineup by taking out Arturo Vidal and replacing the Chilean with “Mr. January”, Paul Pogba. It had not been a controlled match from the Juventus midfield despite holding the majority of the possession and Arturo Vidal’s frustration was clear as he headed straight to the locker-room upon being substituted.
More dull moments were to come from the Bianconeri after regrouping at halftime, and it seemed as though the main talking point of the match was why Paletta has not yet shaved his clearly balding head. Luckily for Max and his men, Alvaro Morata was set to come on and replace Kingsley Coman in the 77th minute with the score still level. Morata, who had scored previously against the Gialloblu, had his chance to make the difference by partnering with his fellow countryman, Fernando Llorente for the first time this season. On the pitch Morata looked determined and the young Spaniard had clearly remembered to bring his scoring boots. In the 89th minute, despite playing poorly, Juventus were able to break the drawn-out deadlock that seemed destined for a penalty shootout. Llorente managed to pick out the darting run from Alvaro Morata who trickled past three Parma defenders and tucked it gently past Mirante and into the back of the net with moments to spare.
An ugly win, but a victory nonetheless. Juventus move ahead in the Coppa Italia in their hunt for the “silver star” and a race with Roma to number 10. Juve will now look on to face either Fiorentina or Roma in the Semi-Finals and prepare themselves for this weekend’s match at Udine against Antonio Di Natale’s Bianconeri.
Man of the Match: Alvaro Morata
Flop of the Match: Fernando Llorente
Pass Accuracy: 87%
Shots on Target: 3
Total Shots: 12
Ball Possession: 62%
Parma: Mirante; Pedro Mendes (Santacroce 34), Lucarelli, Paletta; Rispoli (Varela 90), Galloppa, Mariga, Nocerino, Gobbi; Palladino, Rodriguez
Juventus: Storari; Lichtsteiner, Ogbonna, Chiellini, Padoin; Vidal (Pogba 70), Pirlo, Marchisio; Pepe (Caceres 90), Llorente, Coman (Morata 76)