Well, that was lucky!
Now surely we can talk about the team’s resilience amidst the grand injury crisis, but truth to be told, Juventus had fortune by their side, as they took a first leg advantage thanks an injury-time own goal that left the loud Fiorentina supporters in utter silence.
Lorenzo Venuti – who replaced the injured Alvaro Odriozola – was the most unfortunate man in Florence on Wednesday night after gifting the Bianconeri 1-0 win in the first leg of the Coppa Italia Semi Final, an encounter that the Viola will feel that they should have won.
So here are our three takeaways from a volatile night in Tuscany.
Only Human After All
On Wednesday, all eyes where on Dusan Vlahovic who was making his first return to the Artemio Franchi following his infamous January exit.
Naturally, the Viola fans greeted him with a literal inferno homecoming. The Serbian was a target for some unfriendly chants and continuous whistles and jeers throughout the 90 minutes and beyond.
All players have their off-matches, but on this occasion, the young man was visibly struggling on the emotional side more than anything else.
This poisonous atmosphere was simply too much for Vlahovic (or any other player for that matter) to bear.
Don’t Throw the Towel on Aké
Against Fiorentina, Max Allegri handed Marley Aké his first start with the first team. However, the young winger couldn’t put an inspiring display and left his spot on the pitch for Juan Cuadrado after the halftime break.
And yet, the 21-year-old deserves another chance, a fairer one. After all, the former Marseille talent was playing slightly out of position (as a right wingback) going against a solid international player in Cristiano Biraghi, while the rest of the Bianconeri players were also failing to deliver with Fiorentina enjoying the upper hand in the first half.
While the injury crisis prompted this debut, the conditions were far from ideal for the young man.
Not Over Yet
Despite taking the lead away from home, Vincenzo Italiano’s team remains a dangerous side, and if taken lightly, it can turn the result upside down at the Allianz Stadium.
This time, we were lucky to escape with a clean sheet, but Jonathan Ikoné came very close on a couple of occasions.
The Juventus players put up a gutsy if unspectacular performance in Florence, and a similar display will be needed in Turin to seal a spot in the final.
Bottom line, we did what we needed to do. The mark of a great team is to be able to play ugly/ bad and still get a result.