Pirlo 61 (J), Morata 72 (J)
Serie A – Week 10 [1st November 2014] – Stadio Carlo Castellani
Alvaro Morata and Andrea Pirlo goals earned Juventus a valuable win in Empoli and a 3 point lead at the top of the table but Angelo Ogbonna and Kwadwo Asamoah are injury doubts for the game against Olympiakos midweek.
Juventus were celebrating the 117th anniversary of their foundation and had a chance to go clear at the top following Napoli’s 2-0 victory against Roma earlier in the day. Max Allegri opted to rotate his team and rest Carlos Tevez, Fernando Llorente, Paul Pogba and Stephan Lichtsteiner while Andrea Barzagli, Patrice Evra and Martin Caceres were all out through injury.
Sebastian Giovinco was given a rare start partnering Alvaro Morata up front and made a good early start, forcing 2 vital blocks from Empoli while Gigi Buffon made an easy save from Piotr Zielinski’s effort. Alvaro Morata made a strong into the box but his assist was intercepted by Daniele Rugani with Giovinco poised to tap in the ball.
Giorgio Chiellini headed over before Arturo Vidal fired his shot straight at Davide Bassi following another smart play from Morata. Angelo Ogbonna picked up a serious knock from Chiellini early on and limped through the remainder of the first half before being replaced by Stephan Lichtsteiner who filled in at centre-back.
Vidal looked off the pace in the first half and made a late challenge that saw him booked and suspended for Juve’s next league match against Parma. Juve came to life in the second half and Kwadwo Asamoah finally created a chance on 55 minutes, forcing a save from Bassi and Marchisio’s follow-up effort was just wide of the far post.
Chiellini’s headed effort from a corner skimmed the far post but Juventus finally broke the deadlock on 61 minutes. Andrea Pirlo netted his first goal of the season with a trademark free kick that dipped over the wall leaving Bassi unsighted until it was too late to attempt a save.
Empoli made a fight of it and Manuel Pucciarelli’s deflected shot rose above Gigi Buffon but the veteran keeper beat it away with his trailing hand. Carlos Tevez should have put Juve 2-0 up but for Bassi who parried the strikers’ effort before Marchisio turned the follow up onto the crossbar.
Juventus finally got their second and it was Morata who bagged it. Carlos Tevez played a perfect pass into the Spanish striker who cut in on his left foot and curled a sublime finish into the far top corner.
There was more bad news for Allegri as Asamoah left the field injured. Tevez found himself in space but a heroic save from Bassi prevented Juve scoring a third. Buffon made a spectacular charge down late on to deny Francesco Tavano before Lorenzo Tonelli was booked in stoppage time for his body-check on Tevez, ending a clear scoring opportunity.
|Man of the Match:||Pirlo
|Flop of the Match:||Giovinco||Pass Accuracy:||83%||Ball Possession:||57%|
|Fouls:||16||Shots on Target:||7||Formation:||3-5-2|
Empoli: Bassi; Laurini (Hysaj 57), Tonelli, Rugani, Mario Rui; Vecino, Valdifiori, Croce; Zielinski (Tavano 73), Maccarone (Mchedlidze 79), Pucciarelli
Juventus: Buffon; Bonucci, Ogbonna (Lichtsteiner 46), Chiellini; Pereyra, Vidal, Pirlo, Marchisio, Asamoah (Padoin 80); Giovinco (Tevez 68), Morata
Sent off: Tonelli 94 (E)