Just like in other games this season, today's match was a game of two halves. The first half was played at a very high pace but lacked clear cut chances. Unlike my prediction in the comments section, Marchisio did not own the attacking role given to him. Of course that is not his fault, I couldn't really think of anyone better to play in that position, and no, a youngster would not have led this team to glory. To make things worse, Bonucci went out injured a few minutes from the end of the first half making room for Caceres in the left of defense. Let's hope it is not serious.
Then came the second half. Juventus came out with better ideas on how to break down Lazio, but unfortunately Matri did his best effort to frustrate Juventini both in the stadium and on TV. Then came the goal from Peluso from a corner. I am not going to get into whether there was a foul or not. I have seen plays/goals like that allowed before and I have seen plays/goals like that disallowed before. It is entirely at the referee's discretion. Then, De Ceglie and Vucinic came on for the last minutes of a match that seem to be under control. Unfortunately, with less than 10 minutes to go, from another corner, Juventus allowed Lazio back into the game, and complicated their chances of making it through to the next round.
Who do you blame for the goal? I would say De Ceglie. Paolino has always taken time to get into matches, and to find his rhythm. With decreased playing time he is more prone to errors than last season. This is not an excuse, that is simply the player he is and that is why he probably won't be with us for a long time.
My Man of the Match has to be Barzagli. The guy was a beast, his tackling and positioning were impeccable tonight. Nothing was getting past him. Honorable mention to Marrone who also performed well in his role given the limited minutes he has played. I don't wish for an injured Bonucci but I really wish Marrone is given more playing time, especially once Chiellini is back.
Before finishing up I just want to say this: where is the concentration that we had last season? We never let teams back in the way we have done this season. The last few matches have been increasingly poor in that regard. Sampdoria, Parma, and now Lazio have all come back from behind to take points away from us. We need players that do not stop pressing after we are one goal up. I feel that we are too concerned to conserve energies and in the process we are letting our guard down too early.
So, it wasn't to be, Juventus were close to doubling their lead but Lazio had the focus, concentration, and desire that we sorely lacked after the Peluso goal. Now, we are off to Rome with everything to play for. Juventus must score a goal to be able to make it, let's just hope for once Marchetti does not put another MOTM performance.