And you thought that Fiorentina’s return to Europe was a good one… The Juventino in me can’t help but grab this opportunity to say that whatever La Viola do well, the Bianconeri seem to do better. Ok that was a cheap shot and also completely gratuitous: different teams, different opponents, different levels of preparation. Still there is something disconcerting about the ease with which this Juventus team just brushed Artmedia Bratislava aside. I used the expression “pressed their opponents under their heel” in my Fiorentina-Slavia match report, but I feel something a little bit stronger and more explicit is required here.
How about “bashed their heads in with a big hammer”? Too strong? Just “steamrolled” will do then…
(From Gazzetta): This is what you call an exhibition game, because that is exactly what Wednesday night’s UCL Preliminary Round match ended up being for Juventus: a whopping 4-0 victory, thanks to goals by Camoranesi, Del Piero, Chiellini, and Legrottaglie. Artmedia Bratislava may very well already be on day 7 of the Slovakian league, they could not provide a shred of danger for the Bianconeri tonight.
ADP’s ON FIRE! – Elements of Juve’s “walk in the park” tonight: the reliability of the “old guard” (except for Christian Poulsen, all the starting eleven were part of last season’s roster) and the class of captain Alessandro Del Piero, who christened the beginning of his 16th season with the Bianconeri with a fantastic goal, nº38 in 80 matches the UEFA Champions League and nº242 with the Juve shirt. A goal “alla Del Piero” for good measure: curling shot into the top-right corner and keeper left looking. Also big contributors: the quality of Mauro Camoranesi (dribbling, passing, and finally on the road of optimum form) and the strength of Giorgio Chiellini (who needs no introduction at this point). As for Gigi Buffon, he celebrated his 500th professional match with yet another clean sheet, just another positive note to add to a very successful evening.
FIRST HALF HAT-TRICK – The Bianconeri started their domination very early into the match, and one could say Mauro Camoranesi’s goal in minute 7 made things considerably easier for them. Exploiting some good work inside the box by Grygera, the Italo-Argentine winger slammed a powerful instep shot inside the right post, thus putting his team into an early lead. 1-0 Juventus. The only snag? Grygera had to be subbed off due to a knock on the head, forcing Ranieri to backtrack Salihamidzic to right-back and insert Vincenzo Iaquinta as vice-Nedved (out suspended) on the left wing.
Having an extra striker on the field must have actually helped Juve, because they did not slow down one bit. Del Piero’s star was burning very brightly tonight, just like in the good old glory days (with plenty still to come) and his recent match at Old Trafford (when the Man Utd crowd gave him a standing ovation as he was subbed off the field). Indeed, anything that the Juve captain touched turned into gold, be it penetrating passes or finishing shots from close to mid-range. As for his curling minute-26 shot inside the top corner, well… that was pure vintage Del Piero right there, justifying in full all the “ooohs” and “aaahs” coming from the Stadio Olimpico crowd. 2-0 Juventus.
2-0 became 3-0 shortly before the break, as Giorgio Chiellini got his noggin to a perfectly-delivered Camoranesi free-kick. The latter was the true playmaker in Claudio Ranieri’s team (and this despite playing on the right wing), making heads in the Slovakian defense spin with his twists & turns, all the while the tireless Momo Sissoko continuously to win possession back in the center. The 3-0 Juventus HT scoreline left little doubt on the Bianconeri’s UCL qualification.
SECOND HALF FORMALITY - Indeed, the second period was essentially a formality for Juve. Controlling the lead, Ranieri’s boys even came close to making it four on a good number of opportunities, such as Del Piero’s curling shot (this time left-footed, from the right side) which missed the crossbar by inches (it would have been another fantastic goal, a xerox copy of his first one), or Vincenzo Iaquinta’s 20m effort that the Juve striker slammed onto the post. Goal nº4 did come eventually, but we had to wait until minute 90 for it, as Nicola Legrottaglie (left all alone by the Slovakian defense) headed a Camoranesi corner-kick out of the keeper’s reach. 4-0 Juventus, with the Bianconeri one foot and a half through the UCL entrance door.
|GOALSCORERS: 7’ Camoranesi (J), 26’ Del Piero (J), 38’ Chiellini (J), 90’ Legrottaglie (J).
| JUVENTUS (4-4-2): Buffon – Grygera (15′ Iaquinta), Legrottaglie, Chiellini, Molinaro – Camoranesi, Poulsen, Sissoko, Salihamidzic – Del Piero (72’ Amauri), Trezeguet. (bench: Chimenti, Mellberg, Zebina, Ekdal, Pasquato). Coach: Ranieri.
| ARTMEDIA BRATISLAVA (4-4-2): Kamenar – Fodrek, Cisovsky, Salata, Urbanek – Anderson, Kozak, Velicky, Piroska (46’ Obzera) – Pospech (83’ Oravec), Halenar (69’ Glever). (bench: Hyll, Szabo, Hasek, Mraz). Coach: Weiss.