3 penalties against Juve… is this real football?

After today’s match against Cagliari, I dare anyone to say the shadow of Moggi and Calciopoli still lurks over the Bianconeri: if anything, it’s Ranieri‘s men who should be entitled to mention the words ”conspiracy theory” today. Fortunately for Juve though, they still remember that to win a game you need to score more goals than your opponent, not necessarily play better.

Cagliari-Juve 2-3

Before tackling the issue (no pun intended) of the penalty calls (plenty more on that later), allow me to begin by stating that this is by far the worst Juve I’ve seen in weeks. No, make that months. Hell, make that the worse Juve I’ve seen since the year 2007 started. It’s already bad enough when you know your weakest link in the team is the defense (that basically forces you to focus on offense to obtain the points). However, when even your midfielders and strikers cannot hold the ball for more than 10 consecutive seconds, that’s when you’ve got a real problem! I’m not exaggerating when I say that is how Juve played for a good 3/4 of the game today, suffering the incessant pressure of the Cagliari players, and needlessly (and systematically) giving away the ball as soon as they got possession back. Now, the ‘Old Lady’ may have lost a good deal of their star players after the relegation to Serie B, but what they haven’t lost is their cynicism and the desire to battle it out until the very last minute! That (and in large part Camoranesi’s contribution) are responsible for Juve’s victory today. 

Giorgio Chiellini tries to contain Pasquale Foggia. The Cagliari youngster was a constant thorn in the Juve defense today.Cagliari set the tone of the game right from the start: push, push, push forward. The agility & technical mastery of Pasquale Foggia on the right wing were a delight to watch for neutral spectators today: that youngster is on the right track of becoming the ‘next Gianfranco Zola’, as they have labeled him at Sant’Elia this season. Needless to say that that’s where most of Cagliari’s chances came in the game, also due to the fact  the Juve defense was leaking from all parts today (especially in the 2nd half). In the first half however, there were only two (or three) chances worth noting: two hard headers by Alessandro Matri and Joaquín Larrivey for Cagliari (set up by, you guessed it, Foggia), and the biggest of them all, a chance for Del Piero (exploiting a kamikaze backpass from Bianco) who chipped the keeper and blasted over the bar with an open net in front of him (could have passed to Trezeguet too).

In the 2nd half, the Cagliari assault began, but funnily enough Juve would be the first to get on the scoreline. The key substitution for the Bianconeri in this case, was the entrance of Mauro German Camoranesi (in for an injured Salihamidzic). Indeed, the Italo-Argentine playmaker was the only one that could adjust his passes accurately for more than 10 yards, a considerably improvement on what the Juve players had been producing thus far. The first Juve goal had little to do with passing and more to do with lucky deflecting though, as a deep cross to the edge of the box ended up being fumbled by the Cagliari defense, hit Camoranesi in the back, and set up David Trezeguet in perfect position for the tap-in.

Trezeguet’s jubilation after scoring the first Juve goalNow here’s where the “Tagliavento show” (the ref for today’s game) began. Minutes after the first goal, the ref awarded a PK for a Legrottaglie shoulder hold on Matri (yup, Legrottaglie’s back ladies & gentlemen, and so are the nightmares of millions of Juve fans out there). Little Foggia stepped up to transform, Buffon dove the right way and even got a hand of it, but couldn’t prevent the goal. 1-1.

15 minutes later, another penalty called against Juve, this time, on a supposedly mistimed tackle of Chiellini on Conti (two penalties in one game? Wait, hell must be freezing over). Replays showed that the tackle was clean on the ball, and fortunately for Juve, that’s exactly what the linesman saw as well. A short talk with the ref ensued, with the subsequent decision to revoke the penalty and award a corner kick instead. On the ensuing kick the Bianconeri defense is all over the place: no one closes down the crosser, and man-marking by the defenders is as accurate as if they had poured a gallon of melted butter on the Cagliari players. Fortunately, Buffon‘s having a ‘super’ day and keeps Bianco’s ‘point-blank shot’ (or make that an ‘almost certain goal’) out of the net.

Camoranesi is congratulated by Del Piero for his brilliant volleyed assistMinutes later, more drama as the Bianconeri get in the lead once more, through a spectacular play by Camoranesi. Receiving the ball back to goal, pass back by the Italo-Argentine to Almirón who returns the pass with a long deep lob. Spotting the Cagliari keeper Fortin off his line, Camoranesi managed to invent a marvelous volleyed chip that is set to end its course into the goal, had it not been for Del Piero applying the insurance finish. 2-1 with 15 minutes to go.

Game over? Far from it. 4 minutes pass and Mr. Tagliavento awards another PK to Cagliari, this time for Zebina hold on Larrivey. Now you can say what you want about either of the 3 penalties (I personally think the 3rd was BS, but that’s just me) but what can be said for certain is that it must have been decades (if it ever happened) since Juve had to concede 3 penalties in a single game. From now on, the first one that mentions to me referee corruption and Juve in the same sentence gets beaten unconscious with a frozen cod. Either way, cue up Foggia again, ball to the left Buffon to the right, 2-2 in the 81′.

There was still time for Zebina and Del Grosso to be sent off (respectively for protesting the 3rd penalty and for double booking) before the final tally of Chiellini, heading a free-kick cross by (yes, him again) Mauro German Camoranesi.

Considering how Juve played, they are lucky to be walking away with 3 points from Cagliari today. However, nothing lucky about the Bianconeri’s burning desire to win, up to the final minute when the last ball is kicked. That, and a certain Italo-Argentine player, is what saved them today.

More details on the other matches to follow later.

 Juventus F.C.
GOALSCORERS: 54’ Trezeguet (J), 56’ pen. Foggia (C), 77’ Del Piero (J), 81’ pen. Foggia (C), 90’ Chiellini (J)
CAGLIARI (4-4-2): Fortin – F.Pisano (75’ Ferri), Lopez, Bianco, Del Grosso – Foggia, Conti, Parola, Fini (80’ A.D’Agostino) – Larrivey, Matri (66’ Acquafresca). (bench: Koprivec, Canini, Budel, Biondini). Coach: Giampaolo.
JUVENTUS (4-4-2): Buffon – Zebina, Andrade, Criscito (46’ Legrottaglie), Chiellini – Salihamidzic (50’ Camoranesi), C.Zanetti, Almirón (87’ Nocerino), Nedved – Trezeguet, Del Piero. (bench: Belardi, Molinaro, Tiago, Palladino). Coach: Ranieri.


Posted in Cagliari, Juventus, Serie A |

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  • 5 Responses to “3 penalties against Juve… is this real football?”

    1. Will says:

      Conspiracy theories aside, I think Refs are going to be so afraid of being accused of ‘aiding’ Juventus that they will end up calling any and every type of misdemeanor a Juve player commits. Juve is going to suffer from this a lot. Juve showed they were hungry for the 3 points. Hungrier than Cagliari. You can’t really say Cagliari played better becuz, the aim of the game is to score goals. Despite playing at home, the only goals Cagliari managed were from the spot. Juve scored 3 goals from play….
      Forza Juve! Oh and forza Zebina. Grown men don’t get slapped unless they did something bad. :mrgreen:

    2. Jake says:

      You’re so funny Marco… “conspiracy theory”? Against Juve? JUVE? Hell did freeze over it seems, and on top of that you’ve completely lost your mind! :twisted:

    3. Michael Stensland says:

      As much as I hate Juve, I have to admit that this wasn’t the best example of ref fairness, those two penalty calls were a bit dodgy. If you start calling those kinds of fouls in every game, there would be 10 penalty kicks per match which makes absolutely no sense.

      I wouldn’t go as far as saying ‘conspiracy theory’ though, that’s a bit crazy. I agree with what Will said though, the ref might actually be afraid of NOT calling penalties against Juve (now that Moggi’s out of the picture) but not as part of any conspiracy, but more like a psychological subconscious effect or something

    4. Jake: It’s always refreshing to get your non-biased anti-Juve comments. I bet you haven’t even seen the game and the penalty calls… :roll:

      Will & Mike: I might have exaggerated with the ‘conspiracy theory’ but I was just trying to make a point. Every team screams in scandal every time a penalty is called for Juve against them, so I thought I’d turn the situation around.

      What you say Will makes some sense I guess, although if that were true perhaps the ref wouldn’t have given the free kick that lead to Juve’s 3rd goal (the pull on Del Piero was very light I thought).

    5. Serja says:

      After all the fuss you’ve been making, I HAD to check out those penalties. As much as I hate to agree with Marco :mrgreen: that third PK was indeed a bit nonsense. Mr. Zebina did deserve the red card for his reaction though, but not to be penalized for the holding. The guy he was marking wasn’t even close to getting the ball on that one.