Juventus 2-1 Atalamta
Scorers – Migliaccio 25 (A), Llorente 39 (J), Pirlo 45 (J)
Serie A – Week 24 [Friday, 20th February – 19:45 GMT] – Juventus Stadium
For a while it seemed to be a repeat of last week’s 2-2 draw versus Cesena. Atalanta would take the lead in the 25th minute via a Giulio Migliaccio goal, but Fernando Llorente equalized 15 minutes later after a bit of chaos in Atalanta’s six yard box. Moments later, Andrea Pirlo curled in a screamer from distance to give Juve the lead. Despite Atalanta’s early goal, the 2-1 scoreline held out for the duration of the match.
Juventus did get off to a strong start, and there were several Juventus scoring chances in the first 15 minutes. Leonardo Bonucci played a phenomenal long ball to a wide open Fernando Llorente, but Llorente was offside. Shortly after Carlos Tevez found Martin Caceres making a run into the box from out wide, but Caceres’ attempt to cross the ball was intercepted. Caceres would consistently cause issues for Atalanta today, with both Tevez and Paul Pogba finding him on runs several times throughout the match.
In the 24th minute Atalanta nearly scored. Andrea Pirlo, attempting to break up an Atalanta breakaway, deflected the ball into the path of Mauro Baselli. Baselli took his chance, and Gianluigi Buffon made a super quick save on a close range effort. The ball went out for a corner kick, and then Giulio Migliaccio scored off that corner kick, giving Atalanta the lead.
Juventus continued to attack after the goal, desperate to equalize. Caceres nearly scored in the 38th minute, after Pogba found him making a run. His point blank effort was well saved by Atalanta keeper Marco Sportiello. Sportiello had a number of fine saves today, putting in a very impressive performance for a goalkeeper who is only 22 years old.
A minute later, off of a corner kick, Fernando Llorente scored his goal. Sportiello saved Bonucci’s header from the corner kick, but the ball stayed near the goal and there were four Juve players in that vicinity. Llorente got the final tap in and tied the game.
Similarly, Andrea Pirlo had a free kick that Sportiello caught, but a minute later he scored off of the aforementioned long distance curling shot. Each of the three goals came immediately after unsuccessful set piece attempts, a total coincidence, but an odd one at that.
Neither team would score in the second half but both sides had chances to. Paul Pogba had a point blank header in the 54th minute, but it was saaved by Sportiello. Claudio Marchisio was later given a yellow card for a small scuffle – mostly shirt pulling – with Scaloni in Atalanta’s box. The two even jawed a bit back and forth after, but Scaloni backed down, no doubt fearing Marchisio’s manly toughness.
Scaloni did, however, nearly score later on. He attempted a rather audacious long range shot, perhaps inspired by Pirlo, which went slightly over Juve’s crossbar. Late in the game, Migliaccio attempted to double his goal count for the day, with an effort on goal that went wide left.
Max Allegri made a few strategic substitutions to rest some key players ahead of the Dortmund match. Stephan Lichtsteiner came on for Paul Pogba, Alvaro Morata came on for Fernando Llorente, and Kingsley Coman came on very late, in the 89th minute, for Carlos Tevez. Coman didn’t get a chance to do much, but he dribbled around several Atalanta players before launching a shot on goal, which Sportiello saved.
Now, we just have to wait a few days, and Champions League football returns for Juventus. It is an exciting, and nerve-wracking, time.
Man of the Match: Andrea Pirlo
Flop of the Match: N/A
Pass Accuracy: 86%
Shots on Target: 6
Total Shots: 13
Ball Possession: 63%
Juventus: Buffon; Caceres, Bonucci, Chiellini, Padoin; Marchisio, Pirlo, Pogba (Lichtsteiner 65); Pereyra; Tevez (Coman 89), Llorente (Morata 74)
Atalanta: Sportiello; Bellini, A Masiello, Migliaccio, Scaloni; Zappacosta (D’Alessandro 50), Cigarini, Baselli (Gomez 82), Dramé; Emanuelson; Denis (Boakye 70)