Posts Tagged ‘Alessandro Del Piero’

Real Madrid 0-2 Juventus: Del Piero Taking the Bernabéu Crown (UEFA Champions League 2008-09)

Thursday, November 6th, 2008

There is only one king in Spain tonight, and his name is Alessandro Del Piero. Royal ADP. Real Pinturicchio. Two blows from the cannon, two thrusts of the mighty sword, two strokes of that epic paintbrush of his, painting the colours of a magical Spanish night in which Juventus beat Real Madrid on their home turf. That, ladies & gentlemen, had not happened for over 46 years.

And a deserved victory it was too. The Bianconeri suffered in ball possession, but they were more organized, more disciplined, more cynical. Lead by the inspirational magic of their nº10 captain, and under the direction of the tall white-haired man in the dugout. The Santiago Bernabeu stadium must be bringing Claudio Ranieri some luck, because including the seasons he was in command of Valencia and Atletico Madrid, this is the third time the Juve coach was victorious on royal territory.

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Juventus 2-1 Real Madrid: Del Piero & Amauri Return Juve’s Pride. Wins Too. (UEFA Champions League 2008-09)

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008

Like a phoenix rising from its ashes, Juventus was reborn Tuesday. With two majestic strokes of the paintbrush, one by Del Piero to erase a never-ending streak of injuries, another by Amauri to wipe five consecutive winless matches clean, the Bianconeri imposed a lesson of great will & determination on their Real Madrid rivals.

It was a match where the Old Lady’s “old guard” (Del Piero, Nedved) mixed with its new heroes, the magnificent likes of Chiellini, Sissoko, and Amauri (dominating their respective parts of the field) and after which manager Claudio Ranieri can finally breathe a sigh of relief. As Juventus continue their journey through darkness (Marchisio & Legrottaglie joined the injury list tonight), their victory against Real Madrid will provide some very bright headlights.

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Juventus 1-2 Palermo: Rosanero Exploit in Turin, Bianconeri go from Bad to Worse (Serie A Matchday 6)

Sunday, October 5th, 2008

After tonight’s display between Juventus and Palermo, the (Bianconero) cynic in me has this to say: at least we didn’t tie. Indeed, after three consecutive draws against Catania, Sampdoria, and Bate Borisov, Claudio Ranieri can finally get rid of the “Mr. X” tag that was bestowed upon him this past week. This time, Juventus lost.

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Juventus 1-0 Zenit: The Bianconeri Dreamt It, ADP Dealt It (UEFA Champions League 2008-09)

Thursday, September 18th, 2008

Ladies & gentlemen, it was destiny. Almost three years after their last Champions League appearance, Juventus’s return to the top European competition could only have born the captain’s signature. In a moment of free-kick magic, Alessandro Del Piero delivered the victory to the Stadio Olimpico crowd, a magistral (“magistral”? Look at me, I’m talking like Ray Hudson now) execution that fooled the Zenit keeper and rocketed the ball into the back of the net. Europa, siamo tornati!!!

(From Gazzetta): Juventus grabbed their first points of the 2008-09 UCL season Wednesday, and can thank captain Alessandro Del Piero for it. A well-earned result in a hard-fought match which, considering Real Madrid‘s presence inside the group, makes the win all the more important.

The difference tonight was made by a moment of brilliance, that of the Bianconeri’s most charismatic player: Il Capitano. A moment which, in the light of today’s performance, was just as precious as Gigi Buffon’s saves with the score still tied. Juve did not radiate brilliance in this match, far from it, but against a very tough opponent (which after their UEFA Cup triumph rose way up to the new UCL challenge) Ranieri’s men nonetheless confirmed their thirst for victory, even if they did not play exceptionally well. After all, winning through mediocrity (not that Juve deserve that appellation) is one of the main qualities great teams are made of.

Depending on whether you’re a “glass half full” or “glass half empty” kind of guy, you might want to look at Juventus’ first half as either positively (intermittent bits of good play) or negatively (not a very convincing display overall). Zenit’s three-man attacking formation forced the Bianconeri wing-backs to limit their movements forward, thus disabling the wing support for Camoranesi and Nedved. Meanwhile Sissoko and Poulsen provided plenty of interdiction quality in the middle (equaled in that regard by Anatoliy Tymoschuk), but were struggling in terms of playmaking. That part was left to Del Piero, thus forcing the Juve captain to backtrack from his forward position as a result.

There was only so much ADP could do though: he couldn’t launch a pass, make the run, and then be there to receive it at the other end. Not with David Trezeguet constantly being harassed by the two Zenit center-backs, and unable to provide a wall pass. On the other end, Zenit certainly hadn’t come to Turin as mere spectators: well set-up by a Denisov-Arshavin (seemingly “pardoned” and returning from bench-exile) combination, €30m-man Danny Alves missed an almost certain goal in front of Buffon, who watched the ball slip inches wide of the post from 12 yards out.

Thus inevitably, the first half ended on a (fair) 0-0 scoreline, also because whatever little sparks of light Juve produced (such as Del Piero’s double cross for Trezeguet and Camoranesi, wide on both headed counts) were inevitably silenced by the Italo-Argentine’s injury (and forced replacement) at the half hour mark. Especially since Ranieri didn’t feel like playing the Iaquinta card this time, deciding to go for the more balanced (read: defensive) Hasan Salihamidzic.

In the second period however, the match finally started to pick up pace. Not right away, although Radek Šírl‘s 11th minute one-on-one with Buffon (with a big suspicion of offside) definitely provided some scares for the Juve faithful (Gigi was brilliant in his off-the-line rush anyways). 15 minutes later, the Bianconeri had their biggest chance yet when a Nedved set-piece was deflected toward the post by Christian Poulsen. Vyacheslav Malafeev showed off his reflexes between the posts and parried away.

Poulsen’s chance was however a prelude to the goal, a brilliant moment of set-piece magic by Alessandro Del Piero. 30 metres out and quite a few yards to the left, the Juve captain donned his magic free-kick boots and applied (with a little inspiration from Juninho/Pirlo/C.Ronaldo) a fantastic swerve-to-the-left-then-swerve-to-the-right trajectory to his shot. Malafeev was surprised, and the entire Stadio Olimpico erupted in joy at the ball hit the inside of the goal mesh, ending a two-year European goalscoring drought for Juventus. 1-0 in big effing style. The Old Lady is back Europe!

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Juventus F.C.
JUVENTUS-ZENIT
1-0
[Match Highlights]
 FC Zenit St. Petersburg
GOALSCORERS: 75’ Del Piero (J).
JUVENTUS (4-4-2): Buffon – Grygera, Legrottaglie, Chiellini, Molinaro (57’ De Ceglie) – Camoranesi (31’ Salihamidzic), Poulsen, Sissoko, Nedved – Trezeguet (87’ Amauri), Del Piero. (bench: Manninger, Mellberg, Marchisio, Iaquinta). Coach: Ranieri.
ZENIT (4-3-3): Malafeyev – Anyukov, Krizanac, Puygrenier, Sirl – Denisov, Tymoschuk, Zyryanov (80’ Dominguez) – Arshavin, Pogrebnyak, Danny. (bench: Contofalski, Hubocan, Kim, Radimov, Fayzulin, Ricksen). Coach: Advocaat.

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Juventus 4-0 Artmedia: A Walk in the Turin Park… (UEFA Champions League Preliminary Round)

Wednesday, August 13th, 2008

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…

Champions League 2008-09 - Preliminary Round, Leg 1 - Juventus 4-0 Artmedia Bratislava

(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.

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Juventus F.C.
JUVENTUS-ARTMEDIA
4-0
[Match Highlights]
FC Artmedia Petržalka
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.

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