Match Review Coppa Italia

Juventus 3-1 Napoli – Coppa Italia Semi 1st leg

March 1, 2017 - 10:11 am

Player Ratings

Neto – Other than the goal conceded, for which he had no chance, the Brazilian had not one proper save to make the entire game. Comfortable and impressive with his decision making and handling. 6.5

Chiellini – He loves these rough encounters, and as the temperature rises the warrior within emerges. Giorgio was a centurion, winning countless headers and barely missing a step. Also weighed in with a smart (or brave!) assist for Gonzalo’s goal. 7.5

Barzagli – The old timer proved surprisingly more comfortable when we moved to a back four in the second half, and whilst I am not keen on him playing on the flank his pace remains astounding for a man of his years. 6.5

Bonucci – Back to his finest both with his passing and indomitable defensive power. 7

Asamoah – Fought hard and generally fair! And almost did enough to shut out that crafty little fiend Callejon. 6.5

Lichsteiner – Could have done better with the rebound which was well saved by Reina…other than which held his own…but is no RM. 6.5

Khedira – Somewhat muddled and absent in the first half yet grew in stature as the game progressed. 6

Pjanic – Went about his business with calmness under pressure and stuck to Insigne for the second period which greatly helped our cause. Is showing he can do more than solely make the play from deep and produce beautiful set piece deliveries. 6.5

Mandzukic – Phenomenal. Returned to his more recently common LM role in the 2nd period, Mario became monstrous, both with the ball at his feet and his hustling. His stamina and determination was top quality. Unlucky not to score with his well saved header and snapshot. 8

Dybala – He really must stop this terrible habit of rolling around when fouled, for it bothers the referee and bothers me. Already looks like he is playing in Spain!hohoho! Great running, brilliant work from the spot and to set up Cuadrado for the foul which led to his second. 8

Higuain – Took his goal very well indeed from an acute angle, threatened with another strike within the box yet poked it wide when he should have taken it on his left. 7

Cuadrado – Yet again Juan provided a sterling performance. Winning the penalty with great pace and putting several great balls into the box. Our fortunes changed when he entered the fray as he stretched Napoli terribly and found some great positions. 7

Allegri changed the system for this one, and the 3-4-3 failed to achieve much in the first half as we ceded possession to the visitors. Whilst they had plenty of the ball, they only created one decent chance which was taken. In the same period we created 5-6 decent chances, but spurned them all.

Lichsteiner did not look comfortable as a RM, Mandzukic was playing too centrally with Asamoah the man to make the width on the left. It wasn’t awful, but neither was it easy on the eye. Yet the fact remains, we still created far more presentable opportunities to score than Napoli.

Thankfully, Allegri dispensed with his experiment and returned to the 4-2-3-1 for the second half which has served us so splendidly since the Florence horror-show. We flew out the blocks like a different side entirely. Immediately won the penalty, and continued to push and dominate and create chances until the final whistle. With Sarri forced to take off Hamsik for he had nowhere to play and was not getting on the ball.

As for the penalties, which Napoli of course – as perennial Juve hating, whinging Partenopei – blame for the defeat…This is despite my count of 10 chances for juve, 1 for Napoli. Play pretty on the ball as much as you please, but if you cannot forge and convert meaningful chances, you don’t win football matches. That was the difference, not the ref, who I thought was more poor for us than the visitors.

Penalty 1.

No doubt whatsoever, Koulibaly clearly stood on Dybala’s toe as he burst through on goal.

Penalty 2

Yes yes! Reina got a slight touch on the ball, mili-seconds before he took Juan out horridly. Had he not cleaned him up, sending him flying over his body, the Colombian would assuredly have reached the loose ball and probably scored. Had Reina got a very obvious push away on the ball, sending the ball to safety, and avoided taking Cuadrado out, it might be more of a 50/50 call, but this was not the case. He barely affected the path or pace of the ball. He took the player out. Had he not taken the player out with an obvious foul the player would have had an open goal. Think of this situation outside the box – A defender gets a slight touch on the ball then goes through the opponent with his tackling foot in one motion, barely affecting the path of the ball and completely upending the opponent. It is a foul. Too many people seem to focus when it suits on ‘he touched the ball first!’ yet if this was the law of the game, you would have players going in full blooded for every single 50/50 ball. Which is not the case, as they would be booked or sent off.

It is instructive of both clubs to consider the way they deal with defeat. When we lost to Fiorentina, Allegri described the game as ‘a setback’ and called for his players to ‘fight’. When Napoli lose they blame the officials. When Roma cant catch us they blame our unfair advantage from receiving assistance from the officials. It is disgusting and unheard of in the other top leagues. This lack of dignity, of respect and with Napoli it seems time after time a reflection of the chairman; a petulant rich man used to always getting his own way. A child throwing his toys out the pram…

This behaviour sours the reputation of not Juve, but Serie A as a whole, and does nothing positive to promote what is a recovering league with some brilliant teams.

Dybala, Cuadrado and Lichsteiner are the only players in our squad who ever make me cringe. And it is always due to their theatrics. Other than which, the club from top to bottom present themselves in the right manner. With dignity, respect and professionalism.

The fixture list is working out perfectly, for we have bedded in a new system, which is bringing marvellous results and exciting performances and we are finding  just the kind of games required to help us blossom further, find the fighting spirit any top team needs to succeed at the elite level. A team can reach a point where they appear to be coasting but unless they are tested, unless they are pushed, they do not improve further. We remain a work in progress, yet are very much on the right path.

This was a fighting performance. Against a very good side. Yet their key is Insigne and Sarri chose to give Milik his first start for many months which suggested to me he was focusing more on the Roma game come the weekend. He also made the team more defensive when we drew level. And even when they did manage to put some good balls into the box late on, they had just one player in attendance! In short, Sarri was scared.

Napoli offered very little threat and were rightfully beaten. Just a shame that partly deflected pass fell perfectly for Callejon to preclude the clean sheet. Regardless, we are in a strong position for the second leg, looking fine in the league and perfectly poised to progress to the quarter finals of the champions league. Many reasons to be cheerful.

Forza Juve


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  • Avatar
    E.Micallef March 1, 2017 at 4:10 pm

    If you see the press today disgusting. Hope everything falls for Napoli as Inter alike. And poet do not mention Napoli as a great of Italian football again. In my heart i truly wished they come up best against Real Madrid. On second thought just go the f…. out. You dont deserve to stand where we stand. Competitions are for true champions. We are so unfortunatly you are not.

    I did not miss one single match after calciopoli as I promised myself to see every match Juve play until we are back on top. All I want is the champions league. Then I will finish with this farse of Italian football.

    I remember tears in 2006. All i want is that fu…… cup.

    • Avatar
      Jas March 1, 2017 at 10:19 pm

      Completely agree with this statement mate. Napoli have followed in inters foot steps in the last two years. They have an inferiority complex in my opinion, always blaming others for their shortcomings. We’ve seen what Napoli and Roma can do outside of Italy….. not much at all. It’s time for Milan and Lazio to rise again. Napoli and their stupid president are a f***** joke! Stop whining and actually produce results -_-.

      • Avatar
        Dar Black March 2, 2017 at 11:33 pm

        Because it is easier to be a victim than a winner. The southern side of Italy have always been the victims in their minds. The truism that is “The north earns, the south spends’ does not alter their pathetic mindset.

        Having said that, as GP said seeing Dybala go down in the box under the lightest of touches is making me nauseous – Juve must be seen to play totally fair and rise above 2006. Dybala’s antics bring us into disrepute, and we gift our enemy a free hit at attacking our moral standing. We should not do that to ourselves.

        • thegutterpoet
          thegutterpoet March 3, 2017 at 8:25 am

          Still I felt it was a penalty, DB. I was merely appalled by Dybala’s rolling over and over routine. It is disgusting and needs to be stopped. Cuadrado also loves the spastic roll. They both lack a bit of class…Take Sandro for example, he came on, got stuck in, was up for the fight, and i remember seeing him stand off an opponent, almost crab the ball, then win a free kick and as the napoli players were going berserk at the linesman or ref, Alex almost smiled as he calmly adjusted his socks…

          Lichsteiner? Too late for him to change now!

    • thegutterpoet
      thegutterpoet March 2, 2017 at 2:27 am

      I cannot recall ever referring to them as a great of italian football, mate…

      • Avatar
        E.Micallef March 2, 2017 at 6:08 am

        Sorry my friend, i just cant understand how everything is reduced, or is explained by a minimum in Italy. They dont talk football. They talk about favours errors by the ref all but football.

        As you said corretly Napoli scored and quite fortunately did so as that was a miskicked shot. Going behind they had not a single shot on goal. They go and lie infront of everyone about things moments that dont even exist. We can argue but there has to be somthing to argue about. For me just like Inter they became the shame of Italian football. The argument should be 10 SHOTS on goal against 1. But that i bet is not what the anti juventini want to hear. Have a good day mate cu on the next one.

  • thegutterpoet
    thegutterpoet March 1, 2017 at 10:44 pm

    I would love to see Napoli play their youth team, and for us to smash them 15-0, to then see Napoli banned from the coppa for five years and the club fined terribly. Also a gagging order placed on the club, any criticism which is considered disrespectful to other clubs or the FIGC leads to growing fines. 500k a pop. Such a shamefully run club…

    • Avatar
      E.Micallef March 1, 2017 at 11:25 pm

      They can play their first team poet i dont care about them. I dont care about their club or whatsoever. Do you remember we had a game after calciopoli was it Zalayeta who was awarded two penalties at the San Paulo.

      That is why Higuain came to Juve. We are too different. We are too superior. They thought we might be history back then. Their nightmare is now in its sixth year the scariest part is that it is getting more scary.

      I dont recall any other football team having a donkey as their mascot it suits them well. They better look at themselves Albiol is shameful in defence Reina in goal. Deservant of the Donkey.

      I hope that this will be the year. Goodnight all Juventini. F… off everyone else.

  • Avatar
    Storm March 2, 2017 at 10:39 am

    In general I just think this is sad.

    As a Juventino I have the luxury of supporting a winning team, which makes it “easy” to be a supporter. But even when we don’t win I can enjoy the game if it is well played/fought. Of course it happens that a ref makes a vital mistake which will influence the game, but if everything else such as statistics speaks against Juventus winning then I am realist enough to see the truth.

    Apparently, every other team is stuck in a 2006 calciopoli mentality. Those who aren’t manage to develop and here I will highlight Atalanta who have been a revelation this season.

    Unfortunately, it seems that politics (and corruptions) still play a very big part in the Serie A.

    I would love to see the FIGC and others support the referees and fine the clubs who find it easier to blame the yellow men. Referees will always be individuals doing their best to fulfill their role. Give them support, help them, educate them, train them and fight the 2006 mentality.

    Only if this will happen, I feel that our opponents can rise to former strengths and help Serie A gain some of it´s lost glory. Of course with Juventus on top.

    • Avatar
      E.Micallef March 2, 2017 at 4:45 pm

      My friend i spent 10years watching other teams getting the better of us. I remember the Alenikov the Zavarov the Barros.

      I remeber when we edged Milan with a Galia goal in the San Siro for my ever first triumph as a Juve supporter. I remember the first Uefa the same year under Zoff. I remember Tacconi running arourd on the pitch under Maifredi getting 5 from Napoli and 5 from Pescara. I remember being left out of Europe. I remember Baggio throwing away our shirt. I remeber the same shirt that gave him the balon dor. I remember being mocked at school. I remember Inter scoring against Siena with 5 players in a 3 metre offside position. I remember under Sacchi you could not move as it was offside. I remember getting 6past them.

      I remeber the lippi the zidane. I remember having our world cup squad as they were all in the 2006 final being ripped apart. I remeber Rimini. I remember the Nedved the Buffon I remember the 1 2 in the San Siro still under Mourinhio. I remember cause Juve are part of me as i did not choose they were born within me. I remember crying like a baby when we won in 1996. Now they shall remember when we were unbeatable. All I need is that cup.

      • Avatar
        Storm March 2, 2017 at 6:57 pm

        You are more emotional attached than me, and for that I envy you.

        However, I still want our opponents to get stronger so we can have more competition in Serie A. That way our league can claim some of its lost prestige.

        Now don´t get me wrong, I want always to see the Zebra on top, winning!

        But with stronger opponents, more competition, maybe for once they could actually focus on the strengths of teams instead of referee decisions.

        We are all tired of the whining about the non-existing Juventus-referee relationship. I wish that someone in FICG had the balls to stand up for the refs, protect them and fine people, who through childish behaviour makes Italian football about a 10 year old phenomenon which will never be settle among fans anyway.

        I want peace, focus on football and the beauty of it

      • thegutterpoet
        thegutterpoet March 3, 2017 at 8:22 am

        Dear god! You must be longer in the fang than even myself, old chum? For not just ten years, you are close to heading back three decades and the double winning side of 90’…

        I’ve followed the side since around the same time,…How old are you, mate and from where do you hail?

        You were fortunate enough to enjoy our superb 90s, the finals, the battles with United, the superb AC team…the 90s was the last great period in western civilization…since then its all been downhill on and off the field.

        • Avatar
          E.Micallef March 3, 2017 at 6:21 pm

          That night at the hysel i was 9 years old but fell asleep when watching that misery fully dresses up with flag and everything. Now im 40 my friend.

      • Avatar
        Jaws March 4, 2017 at 11:30 am

        My friend you just wrote down the story of my life ;)I started to love juve because of my older brother, but when I started to watch the matches the Golden age was just passed away. So I started with Galia, Tricella, Bonetti, and so on. I’m heading Udine tomorrow to watch the match at Stadio Friuli. There I will meet my Lady once again.

        • Avatar
          E.Micallef March 4, 2017 at 1:58 pm

          Enjoy the day my friend. I hope i meet her in Cardiff. We set the appiontment well in advance. I’ll be there waiting for her for that it will be our day. We have been waiting for too long!!!!

          • Avatar
            Jaws March 13, 2017 at 6:16 pm

            Unfortunately it was a really bad match, at least we nailed a draw. I hope you’ll meet her in Cardiff my friend. I really do 😉