Well, this was certainly unexpected. Given Juve’s recent results in pre-season friendlies, you wouldn’t think they’d be able to pull a performance like this out of their hats (just yet). But I guess that Roma’s preparations for Serie A still have got a long way to go too.
I didn’t actually get the chance to watch this one (despite it was seemingly broadcast live on the RAI channel), which is really too bad given that the match ended with such a goalfest. But according to the article published in Gazzetta dello Sport, here’s how it all went down.
Unlike what we observed perhaps in the last Trofeo Moretti, this game wasn’t overly focused on tactics: both teams seemed to try and develop a fluid gameplay instead, and the spectactors that came to watch the game on neutral ground of Stadio Dino Manuzzi (Cesena) weren’t disappointed with the spectacle.
Roma was the first to get on the scoreboard, 11 minutes into the game. Almiron lost the ball on the edge of Juve’s box, and Vucinic promptly thanked him for the gift: an instep shot which beat Buffon (back from injury) on the 1st post. Juve immediately replied with an accurate through ball by Salihamidzic for Iaquinta, but Doni was vigilant and deflected the shot by the Juve striker. The new signing from Udinese was very mobile in the offensive zone, but (as often seen since he joined his new team) imprecise when it came to the finish.
Roma then obtained its second chance of the game, and doubled the score. Totti delivered a 40-yd. free kick, Birindelli missed the offside trap, and Mexès had all the time in the world to adjust the header. 2-0 for Roma. Birindelli had to leave the game a few minutes later due injury, which forced Ranieri to re-align his troops and put C. Zanetti in midfield, while dropping Salihamidzic to the right-back position, .
The new set-up seemed to inject some energy into the Bianconeri, who leveled the score with two quick blows before half time. First, a lightning-fast counterattack (originating from fresh substitute C.Zanetti) was finalized by Trezeguet, who exploited a pinpoint pass from Nedved and beat Doni from close-range. In that last one, a big part of the blame goes to the Roma defense (devoid of Juan in the line-up, injured in the pre-game warm-up), who made a mess on Nedved and allowed Trezegol to easily get behind them. Then in minute 35, Nocerino (who’s been steadily improving game after game) found Trezeguet into the box once again, and the Frenchman made no mistakes in putting the ball out of reach of the goalkeeper.
In the 2nd half, the pace of the game dropped somewhat, but there was still plenty of room for goals. Roma nearly went back in the lead with an Aquilani long-ranger, narrowly wide. But eventually, Juve would be the team shifting into higher gear and produce, through the key contribution of an in-form Alessandro Del Piero (on for Trezeguet). The Juve captain first provided the assist for Iaquinta’s 1st goal under his new colours (finally!), and then scored one of his own with a precise diving header, following a cross by Almiron.
Totti had a chance to bring the score back to 3-4, had it now been for some top goalkeeping by Gigi Buffon, but eventually Juve would even have the last word (Zalayeta) in a match whose 5-2 final scoreline was perhaps too severe for the giallorossi.
If there’s anything that can be said about pre-season games this month, it’s that they reserve a lot of surprises (see Inter’s loss vs. AZ Alkmaar today).
|GOALSCORERS: 11’ Vucinic (R) 25’ Mexès (R), 29’, 35′ Trezeguet (J), 66’ Iaquinta (J), 78’ Del Piero (J), 92’ Zalayeta (J)|
|JUVENTUS (4-4-2): Buffon – Birindelli (26′ C.Zanetti), Andrade, Criscito, Molinaro – Salihamidzic, Nocerino, Almiron, Nedved – Trezeguet (61’ Del Piero), Iaquinta (72′ Zalayeta). Coach: Ranieri.|
|ROMA (4-2-3-1): Doni (62′ Curci) – Cassetti, Mexès, Panucci, Tonetto (79’ Rosi) – Aquilani, Brighi (77’ Nonda) – Taddei (46’ Barusso), Giuly (62’ Alvarez), Vucinic (46’ Esposito) – Totti. Coach: Spalletti|