The bad taste from Tuesday's turrible performance in Munich probably still lingered on in many of our players mouths, but that was never going to be an excuse not to win against last placed Pescara. Win we did, with a 2-1 showing at Juventus Stadium that was unnecessarily frustrating in the end. We struggled to find the net for 70 minutes, then scored a penalty and woke up, only to let Pescara humble us with a tight finish till the last whistle of the game.
Looking on the bright side, Juventus did completely dominate the game for 83 minutes. In a stark contrast from last year's Scudetto run, this year we have been a lot better at leaving games that we completely dominate with the 3 points in the bag. Our struggles to score and finish games off on a consistent basis have continued, but we are doing a much better job at toughing it out and winning games rather than just drawing against inferior opponents (which we did a lot of last year). There are many good reasons why we are nine points clear at the top of the Serie A table, and this has been one of the main ones.
Storari: 7 - Had absolutely nothing to do until the 83th minute rolled around. Couldn't do anything on Pescara's wondergoal, but then held his own to keep the scoreline at 2-1 at the end of the game. Glad he got 90 minutes under his belt — he really is a terrific goalkeeper to have as a backup.
Peluso: 7 - He clearly likes playing a more forward role than a center back, though it worked out in his favor that he was played there against the last placed team in the league. Didn't have much work and pushed up well on several occasions.
Marrone: 7 - For a young player that doesn't get many minutes, he certainly is reliable. Filled in great in the center defender role, though at this point I'm not sure what is more natural for him - defense or midfield? Last time he played in Pirlo's role he looked far from impressive, so I'm not really sure to be honest.
Bonucci: 7.5 - With Peluso and Marrone in his line, he easily stood out as the defensive leader. Adjusted well on that right side, played his role very effectively, and pushed up quite a bit since he had so much space ahead.
Asamoah: 7 - I really think he needed a game like this. Easy opposition, plenty of space on the left to work with, just a good get-your-confidence back game for the Ghanaian. Had some decent runs on the left side and looked a lot livelier in general.
Giaccherini: 5 - It should've been a great situation for Giacc to shine but he completely messed it up. His touch was way off, his passing and dribbling were terrible, and his shooting was atrocious. I would have loved to see De Ceglie come on for him at halftime with Asamoah moving in Giacc's place in midfield.
Pogba: 7 - Covering for Andrea Pirlo seemed to constrain him a bit, despite the fact the can certainly handle playing in that position. His passing was on point and he looked very comfortable — even cocky at times — against the clearly inferior opponent like Pescara. I do wish he pushed up more, though I'm not sure how much of that was Conte's instructions to stay back and cover.
Vidal: 7.5 - As you can see from my grading system so far, none of the players really stood out in any way. Leave it to Vidal to change that with his typically energetic and team-driving performance. Realized the need for creating for others in the game with Pirlo sitting, he always looked to play our attackers on or be dangerous himself.
Lichtsteiner: 7.5 - Started the game off very lively and was a constant threat down that right side early on. Even some of his crosses were accurate and dangerous which is rarely the case. Quieted down a bit in the second half but still had a very good game knowing he'll get a week break sine he's suspended for Wednesday.
Giovinco: sv - Bumped knees and was subbed out after half an hour. Here's the latest on his injury.
Vucinic: 7 - I don't care that he scored two goals, nor that he took his shorts off in celebration (which I found hilariously awesome). Mirko had a VERY crappy game up until that penalty and nothing will really change that. He will need to play a lot better on Wednesday if Juventus is going to have any chance of overturning the first leg deficit.
Quagliarella: 6.5 - Had a great shot at goal saved in the first half but then stayed at that contribution really.
Conte: 7 - He probably had a tough time motivating our players for this game, which is understandable. Shuffled the team well though with all the considerations he had to make for Wednesday's rematch against Bayern. He has a huge test coming up in midweek — I am personally itching to see how he does.