Archive for January 28th, 2008

Juventus Get Back to Winning: 3 Goals to Livorno to Prepare for Inter on Wednesday (Serie A Matchday 20)

Monday, January 28th, 2008

Juventus Get Back to Winning: 3 Goals to Livorno to Prepare for Inter on Wednesday

Serie ANo Gigi Buffon, no Mauro Camoranesi, no Marco Marchionni, no Giorgio Chiellini, and no Jonathan Zebina. With at least 5 important pieces missing from its arsenal, Juventus travelled to the Armando Picchi stadium to get back on the winning track, after 2 not-very-brilliant ties vs. Catania and Sampdoria (not to mention the 2-2 draw at the San Siro in Coppa Italia). However despite the defensive emergency, the Bianconeri pulled out a top-notch performance from their striking duo: at the end of the day the goals by David Trezeguet (double) and Alessandro Del Piero (served by the great passes of Cristiano Zanetti) are a strong indication that even when their defense is in trouble, the Bianconeri are a lethal weapon if their attack is running at full steam.

Serie A Matchday 20 - Livorno 1-3 Juventus

Tactically, both Claudio Ranieri and Giancarlo Camolese decided to orient their teams strongly toward wing attacks, and it should come as no surprise to see the first two big opportunities of the match come precisely from there. On the first one, a tight Giovanni Pasquale-Diego Tristán passing exchange set up the former all alone in front of the Belardi in the 16th, but the Juve keeper pulled out his best Buffon impersonation and made a brilliant save on the shot. Molinaro was there to prevent the tap-in by Francesco Tavano.

Three minutes later, another wing attack but on the other end: Nedved through for Del Piero, but the striker’s finish from inside the box was only a hairbreadth away from the Livorno post. 1-1 on scoring chances. After the first half-hour of play however, Juve would strike and would strike hard. Exploiting a perfect pass forward by Zanetti, David Trezeguet let the aerial ball bounce once before firing a shot past Marco Amelia’s outstretched arms into the net. The culprit on this occasion was Alessandro Grandoni who mistimed the offside trap and kept the Frenchman onside. 1-0 Juve.

The half thus ended on that very same scoreline, just after José Luís Vidigal had two opportunities (left-foot and header) neutralized by Emanuele Belardi. All in all (and in perfect honesty) a better performance from Livorno than Juventus, but the one leading the game at the break was the Old Lady.

After the restart, it took the Bianconeri only 4 minutes to virtually put the game on ice: with the Livorno backline pushing very far up the field, a stolen ball by Zanetti (once again) turned into an instantaneous assist for Alessandro Del Piero who, starting from his own half, made a 50m run all the way inside the Livorno box to beat Amelia through the legs. Not bad for a 33-year old, and 2-0 Juve.

Things really went from bad to worse for the Amaranto, because within less than 5 minutes following the goal, Daniele De Vezze managed to collect two consecutive yellow cards (for a foul on Nocerino, then stupidly for an intentional handball) and leave his team with 10 men. Not cool if you’re losing 2-0, even less cool if you’re losing 2-0 against Juventus.

With more real estate to exploit, the Bianconeri really went to work on their opponents. Their third goal however, they owe it to no one but theselves: the preparation in training, the perfect teamwork, the delightful technique. With Raffaele Palladino pushing up on the right wing, the youngster spotted Del Piero and Trezeguet opening up inside the area. In minute 63 started the play of what probably was the best goal of the week-end, and it went something like this: on Palladino’s low cross, Trezeguet executed a dummy to let the ball through for Del Piero, who immediately chipped it over the defender for the Frenchman. Trezeguet, who had made the run, waited for the ball to drop before slamming a hard right-footed volley into the top right corner of the net. Magical stuff, and 3-0 Juve.

At this point, Camolese decided that it was probably better to one’s chances in attack (and risk conceding another goal) than to just stand watching with Livorno 3 goals down on the scoreboard. As a result, the Amaranto really began pushing forward and through repeated attempts, found the consolation goal in the 79th minute through Erjon Bogdani (shortly after Francesco Tavano hit the inside of the post on a 28m free-kick). It was however too little too late for the home team, who had their run of 9 games without a loss interrupted by the Bianconeri’s return to victory. For Ranieri, this is not only great for the team standings but also great for morale, in the anticipation of the Coppa Italia return leg vs. Inter this week.


 A.S. Livorno Calcio
[Match Highlights]
Juventus F.C.
GOALSCORERS: 30’, 63’ Trezeguet (J), 49’ Del Piero (J), 79’ Bogdani (L)
LIVORNO (3-5-2): Amelia – Grandoni, Knezevic, Galante – Balleri, A.Filippini (59’ Pulzetti), De Vezze, Vidigal, Pasquale – Tavano, Tristán (59’ Bogdani). (bench: De Lucia, Pavan, Rezaei, E.Filippini, Diamanti). Coach: Camolese.
JUVENTUS (4-3-1-2): Belardi – Salihamidzic (59’ Birindelli), Legrottaglie, Grygera, Molinaro – Palladino, Nocerino, C.Zanetti, Nedved (90’ Castiglia) – Del Piero (73’ Iaquinta), Trezeguet. (bench: Vanstrattan, Ariaudo, D’Elia, Tiago). Coach: Ranieri.