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Pellegrino Helps Juventus Overcome Cesena

In the opening minutes of the game, Cesena took advantage of an awkward-looking home team that struggled to produce any meaningful presence. Cesena’s Marco Parolo and Luis Jimenez looked dangerous early as Motta’s defensive shortcomings were targeted and exposed. Motta did manage to kick someone in the face so I guess he wasn’t a complete waste. The eighteen year old Sorensen, who made his first Serie A debut starting for the injured Legrottaglie and Chiellini, looked a bit timid at first playing a few hospital balls to his teammates however he settled into things nicely in the second half.

Back to the first half though, in the eleventh minute, Cesena deservedly took the lead after Moggi’s boy Matias Schelotto laid out a beautiful pass across the face of Storari’s goal for the ex-Nerazzurri Luis Jimenez for the tap in. With our right side getting lit up, Del Neri got Pepe and Marchisio to switch sides so the latter could provide Motta with a little more cover. The hemorrhaging seemed to stop.

Ten minutes or so later, the efforts of Del Piero and Aquilani gradually dragged our team into this game by winning fouls in the opponents half, including another long-range attempt on goal by the Aquaman. Then in the thirtieth minute, Leonardo Bonucci drawed a foul in the penalty area as Cesena’s Pellegrino was decisively beaten to a cross and then clumsily hung on to our central defender’s jersey. The penalty shot was then calmly converted into the left corner off of Del Piero’s seasoned right foot to tie the match at one a piece.

Former Juventus midfielder Stephen Appiah started the match for Cesena in the deep lying midfielder role and made one or two nice passes but failed to make any impact on the game. Cue the poorly timed fouls. In the thirty-seventh minute, Appiah clipped FabQuags from behind to get the game’s third yellow card. Then in a moment of pure stupidity, Cesena’s Pellegrino invited the referee to award him his second yellow as he fouled Simone Pepe who had him clearly beat and was free down the left. Cesena was reduced to ten men and would really never recover.

Four minutes before the half, Marchisio curled a beautiful left-footed cross into the box where Fabio made it 2-1 to complete the comeback. Cesena then went to a 3-2-4 formation which meant Schelotto came off in favour of a central defender. This was more good news for the Bianconeri as Grosso’s defensive duties just got much easier.

The second half started with Del Neri screaming instructions from the sidelines. Juventus maintained a steady pace throughout where Bonucci and Sorensen controlled the back effectively and Aquilani maestro’d the attack. Around the sixtieth minute, Del Neri substituted Sissoko and Del Piero for Melo and Iaquinta. Unfortunately ten minutes later, Felipe picked up another injury after a ridiculous clearance attempt so the second outcast, Hasan Salihamidzic, came on.

In what would be Grosso and Saliham’s moment of redemption, the two outsiders linked up to produce Juventus’ third goal of the match in the eighty-seventh minute. Grosso switched the play from his left back position to Hasan who was playing right midfield, then the Bosnian did well to supply Iaquinta with a low cross to which the striker redirected brilliantly into the top corner. A bit of a fluke, but a good effort by Iaq nonetheless.

A few things I’ll point out here. Fabio Quagliarella is Amauri’s antithesis right now. He can run, fast, he can dribble, with purpose, he can shoot, on target, and head the ball effectively as well. Hopefully Iaquinta gets hot soon and I’ll never have to see Amauri again. Aquilani, Marchisio, Del Piero, and Bonucci all had great games today. We’re seriously decimated by injuries right now but we’re grinding these performances out thanks in no small part to those individuals and Luigi Del Neri wholeheartedly agrees:

"I am pleased, as I told you Juventus didn’t depend on any one player. We are Juve whoever is on the teamsheet and that is how we must step on to the field. I am happy for the lads today, as we were in an emergency situation with seven or eight players missing, but all the replacements did their part. We need to be more clinical in front of goal, as we could’ve sealed the victory a lot earlier, but had to suffer until Vincenzo Iaquinta’s strike.

It is important to think like a team unit. If there is the chance to set up a teammate into a scoring position, then that is a necessary step to become more mature. I wanted to rest him, but he assured me that he was feeling better and so I put him on, but he picked up another injury. The midfield remains a crucial area of the squad and for the moment we are doing well. I must also praise Fredrik Sorensen on his debut, especially the second half, and Leonardo Bonucci who has played practically every game and does not seem tired mentally or physically."