Juventus 2-0 Palermo
Vidal 32 (J), Llorente 64 (J)
Serie A – Week 8 [26th October 2014] – Juventus Stadium
After a disappointing night in Athens, Greece that saw The Old Lady fail to bring any points back to Turin after their loss to defensively-firm Olympiacos, Allegri had a few days to recuperate and prepare for what would be a very important fixture against Sicilian-based U.S. Palermo. With Roma drawing a very strong Sampdoria on Saturday, this match would deem very important for the Bianconeri to reopen the gap they created by beating Roma earlier this month. With a few switches in Allegri’s XI which would see Pirlo stepping in for Lichtsteiner, Pereyra slotting into the right flank and Llorente back in his starting role, the Mister did not take any chances against newly-promoted Palermo, which would prove to be a great success.
The Rosaneri of Sicily were persistent in defense, but not very threatening when attacking; in the first half hour it seemed as though this would be another match where Juventus were in total control, but would have a very difficult time breaking a defense of eleven-men, something that is not unusual for a provincial side to implement against the defending champions of Italy. It was not long after the half-hour mark, however, when Roberto Pereyra would win the ball and send a beautiful pass to Tevez who slotted it to his left to find Arturo Vidal who eventually put the ball behind Stefano Sorrentino and into the back of the net, breaking the deadlock at the 32 minute mark. It was a goal that not only put Juventus ahead, but also one that would silence Vidal’s critics–for now–and boost confidence for the Gobbi supporters after a tough Champions League loss.
Arturo Vidal’s goal would remain the only one at the end of the first 45 minutes and Allegri’s men could go into the locker room with their heads held high and the fans singing loudly, but more work was to be done and changes were still to be made as Pereyra would make his way for Lichtsteiner at the 53rd minute for a more defensive-minded wide-man.
Juventus came out in the second half still in total control, without any real threats to Gigi Buffon or his defense, but surely a second goal was needed to secure the 3 points.
Fernando Llorente, who was picked over fellow Spaniard, Alvaro Morata, has had a difficult start to the season, still failing to have had his name on the scoresheet. Allegri and Fernando must have felt as though today would be the day to change that because the Mister’s decision certainly paid off. It took a little more than an hour of a somewhat frustrating performance from the Juventus target-man, but on the 64 minute mark Juventus won a corner. Pirlo stepped-up and sent in a beautiful ball to find the towering Fernando Llorente’s magical header that skipped past Sorrentino’s right-hand-side and created no shortage of joy and celebration from the World Cup-winning Fernando Llorente and from the Juventus faithful. With a score of 2-0 and the Bianconeri in complete control, the 3 points seemed inevitable.
Pirlo was taken off to a standing ovation right after his assist to Llorente and made way for Paul “Mr. 2019” Pogba, who showed his allegiance to Juve by extending his contract for 4 more years with the club!
As the game ran its course, The Old Lady remained flying higher than The Eagles of Sicily and Allegri would make one last switch to bring on little Sebastian Giovinco. The home-grown man has had a very interesting career between being labeled as “The new Del Piero” to comparing himself to a young Pavel Nedved to bossing the Serie A at Parma and now has struggled immensely for the Gobbi. “The Atom Ant” would, however, get a chance to make his mark in the last 10 minutes as he replaced Carlitos Tevez in the 80th minute. Giovinco was immediately making darting runs off of Pogba and Llorente and miraculously took a shot to beat Sorrentino, but would be stopped by the woodwork, something that has seemingly happened a number of times to Giovinco of recent. While he was unable to make it 3-0, he showed Allegri and his teammates that he is still capable of making a difference; depth will prove key to this Juventus side and thankfully, we seem to have to shortage of it.
Although the defense was not tested thanks to an incredible showing of possession from the Juventus midfield, but when it was, Angelo Ogbonna was especially brilliant. His recent form is that of his time at Torino, where he was brilliant and there are nothing but good signs showing for the Italian no-nonsense defender.
With another 3 points won and a 3 point gap between first and second, Juventus must now think of their next challenge which comes on October 29th at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris against Gasperini’s Genoa.
Marchisio: “It was important to win today and stop any potential beginning of a crisis after our draw to Sassuolo and our loss in Athens.”
Marchisio: “Palermo are a decent side and gave us a few problems on the counter.”
Allegri: “I’m happy that Fernando scored, he repaid the faith we have in him and above all, his own self confidence.”
Allegri: “I wanted to rest Lichtsteiner, but Roberto Pereyra had a hip problem.”
Allegri: “Andrea [Pirlo] did very well in building play today and he is getting back into shape. Playing 60 to 65 minutes at a good level.”
Allegri: “When I was at Milan, someone needed to be blamed and I was labelled the bad guy.”
|Man of the Match:||Arturo Vidal
|Flop of the Match:||N/A||Pass Accuracy:||86%||Ball Possession:||66%|
|Fouls:||8||Shots on Target:||9||Formation:||3-5-2|
Juventus: Buffon; Ogbonna, Bonucci, Chiellini; Pereyra (Lichtsteiner 52), Vidal, Pirlo (Pogba 65), Marchisio, Asamoah; Llorente, Tevez (Giovinco 79)
Palermo: Sorrentino; Munoz, Gonzalez, Andelkovic; Pisano, Bolzoni, Rigoni (Maresca 74), Barreto (Belotti 59), Feddal; Vazquez (Quaison 80), Dybala