A difficult fixture which caused quite a few problems for Juventus in recent years — there were more to come this season as Gian Piero Gasperini managed to create a very solid side, earning some decent results. There are no excuses, though for the slow, predictable and uninspired performance of the Old Lady. Conceding a goal with 30 seconds to go from a team that produced nothing offensively throughout the game is harsh. But playing well under the team’s potential is becoming a frightful habit nowadays.
It was a festive day for Juventini — Gianluigi Buffon’s 500th appearance for the club — and everybody wished he would get a nice little present for his anniversary i.e. the three points. Sometimes though, football likes to have a laugh. The goalkeeper who came under the spotlight was Buffon’s counterpart, Mattia Perin. The 21-year-old made some fantastic saves to protect his side, and he is slowly cobbling his status as Italy’s future hero between the posts.
Max Allegri decided to stick with Fernando Llorente alongside Carlos Tévez in the starting XI after the Spaniard finally broke his duck on Sunday against Palermo and that’s a reasonably understandable decision, despite his horrendous lack of form. But with the attacking game not working and with both Alvaro Morata and Sebastian Giovinco warming the bench, you have to wonder why Llorente was still on the pitch after the break.
Something is not really clicking in midfield these days, thus our best weapon in recent years is now blunt. Situation is not as critical as some may say though, with Juventus still sitting joint-top in Serie A, but Allegri has to bring Old Lady’s mojo back somehow. Making sure players put this result behind them would be a good start. A long season lies ahead and work needs to be done. And in the end, Buffon might have got something for his milestone: A successor in the person of Perin. I’d move heaven and earth to make sure the guy wears bianconero one day.
Juventus started the game on the front foot, applying pressure from early on and the first chance came 10 minutes in when Stephan Lichtsteiner’s shot from just outside the area took a deflection and went inches over the crossbar.
It was quite a physical approach from players of both teams and Angelo Ogbonna received a yellow card in the 16th minute after a challenge on Mauricio Pinilla, although you could argue a booking wasn’t really needed.
Juventus first tested Perin after 20 minutes when Tévez received a ball on the left flank from Vidal, cut inside and shot at the far post, but the goalkeeper managed to push the ball behind for a corner-kick. Just five minutes later, Kwadwo Asamoah found Llorente in the box with a low cross but the Spaniard hit the post with his shot, after a great turn.
Genoa couldn’t really pose a threat to Buffon’s goal in the first half — probably out of respect for Super Gigi’s festive 500th appearance — so Juventus kept dictating the pace of the game, but found no breakthrough as the hosts were happy to put a lot of players behind the ball and just wait for the Old Lady to attack.
Tévez and Paul Pogba tried their luck on a couple of occasions with long shots but Perin was left with nothing to do as the shots went wide. Arturo Vidal received a yellow card for a miss-timed tackle just before the break and the scoreline showed 0-0 as the teams were heading over to the locker rooms.
First chance of the second half came 52 minutes in when Leonardo Bonucci headed the ball from 6 yards just wide of the near post after Tévez’s corner-kick.
Buffon was forced into making his first save after 63 minutes when Giovanni Marchese tried a shot from far out, but there was no problem for Juventus’ captain who pushed it over for a corner-kick.
Morata replaced Llorente in the 65th minute and he shortly had a good chance to score but he took too much time to shoot after receiving a ball from Claudio Marchisio and debutant Rolando Mandragora put in a good tackle to clear the ball away.
Ogbonna missed a glorious chance to put the Bianconeri ahead after 70 minutes when he found himself one-on-one with Perin after a headed ball from Lichtsteiner but his lob hit the post.
With two minutes left to play Juventus missed another glorious chance as Morata received a brilliant pass from Tévez but his powerful shot was denied by Perin who made a fantastic one-handed save.
All the missed chances turned to haunt the Old Lady as substitute Luca Antonini scored the winner for Genoa in the fourth and last minute of injury time. Former Juve striker Alessandro Matri was played in between Ogbonna and Bonucci, flicking the ball past Buffon in the path of the unmarked Antonini who only had to tap the ball into an empty net.
There was no time for Juventus to create another chance as Paolo Mazzoleni blew the whistle for full time.
Buffon: 6.5 His 500th appearance for Juventus was eventually ruined by the late goal. Had nothing to do throughout the match
Bonucci: 6 Was confident at the back but didn’t have too much to do either. Should have reached the ball before Matri at the goal though
Ogbonna: 6 Shares the blame with Bonucci for the goal and also miss-positioned himself once at a cross from the left, but was covered by Chiellini. Missed a huge chance to score
Chiellini: 6.5 Tried to help the attack on a few occasions but unfortunately did more harm than good. Solid defensive display though. Also received an odd yellow card
Lichtsteiner: 6 Played most of the game in the opposition half as he had nothing to do defensively, but never looked dangerous in attack. Got booked late for a stupid foul
Vidal: 6 The Chilean had a lively first half, battling very well in midfield, but didn’t put in the best of performances
Marchisio: 5.5 A quiet display from the Italian whose presence wasn’t really felt in the midfield. Quite a few missed passes
Pogba: 6.5 The Frenchman was the most active midfielder, often trying to combine with Tévez but with no end product unfortunately
Asamoah: 6 Was solid on the left flank although not as involved in attacking actions as expected
Tevez: 7 Always in the middle of Juventus’ attacks but couldn’t find a breakthrough against an over-crowded defence
Llorente: 6 Unlucky to hit the post in the first half but had a quiet game in general
Morata: 7 Replaced Llorente with 25 minutes to go and certainly made his presence felt. Had a good few chances but couldn’t convert them
Pereyra: N/A Came in for Vidal in the 79 minute but made no impact
Allegri: 5.5 Uninspired, to say the least, with his tactics again. Juventus have some clear problems when playing against teams that defend with 10 men behind the ball. There were no ideas in the game today and it makes the team over-reliant on individual performances.
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