It was all setup for a lopsided scoreline. The two-time defending Italian champions against a newly-promoted side in Serie B. Regardless of how well Avellino was playing, it was always going to be an uphill battle the Biancoverdi.
Turns out, Avellino never had a chance to start the journey up the proverbial mountain before Juventus totally took control of things.
First-half goals from Sebastian Giovinco, Martin Caceres and Fabio Quagliarella put the game away a mere 35 minutes after it started. Juventus dominated the visitors, which isn't exactly surprising despite Juve rolled out the 'B' squad on Wednesday night.
Following the script of Serie A champs vs. Serie B newbies, Juventus went up early, got a comfortable lead, and then took the foot off the gas. As we saw after the game when the two managers shook hands, there was a clear respect between the two clubs. Juventus should have won by a convincing margin, and did just that. Nothing more, nothing less.
All of this with nine new players in the lineup. Not bad, gents. Business taken care of. Now it's on to the quarterfinals where Juve will meet either Roma or Sampdoria. I'll take Roma for 500, Alex.
Random thoughts and observations
- A lot of chatter on the Twitter machine before kickoff — and during the game — about not having any primavera kids on the bench for tonight's game. I guess I'm kinda split on the whole thing. The Coppa, at least as Antonio Conte has shown since becoming manager, is the chance for the reserves to get the playing time they normally don't get in Serie A. But at the same, Juve were playing a Serie B side, which really could have been a chance to give the youngsters some serious playing time that doesn't involve them going out on loan.
I don't know. I'm not completely outraged and finding the need to throw things at the wall about it all. Maybe a little disappointed is the way to go.
- Marco Motta, starting on the right wing, wearing the No. 16 jersey. Somewhere Mauro Camoranesi is shaking his head along with the rest of us.
- Even with the score 3-0 in the second half, Avellino's traveling fans were having the time of the lives, singing at full voice. Pretty awesome to see no matter what the scoreboard said. Respect.
- Juventus are on cruise control, passing the ball around the midfield in the second half when suddenly, the crowd starts going nuts. Why? It was because Simone Pepe started warming up on the sidelines. When the 82nd minute arrived, the oft-injured winger made his long-awaited return to competitive action. Probably the most meaningful 10 minutes on the field in a blowout win in quite some time. Welcome back, Speedy.
396 - Simone Pepe's last game for Juventus was dated back November 2012: 396 days ago. Return. #JuveAvellino— OptaPaolo (@OptaPaolo) December 18, 2013
- Sebastian Giovinco: One goal, two assists. By my calculations, Super Seba had a hand in every goal Juventus scored against Avellino. Say what you want about it being against a Serie B team, but Giovinco was the most lively player during Juve's first-half blitz. Even more impressive considering how little he has played the past two months or so.
- Martin Caceres just shows up and plays well whenever he's called upon by Conte. At the same time, he must love to score goals in the Coppa Italia. I like this guy.