Juventus welcomed local rivals Torino to the stadium on Sunday evening for the 230th edition of the Derby Della Mole. Recent years have seen Juventus dominate the matchup, with the Bianconeri winning 17 of the last 19, with two draws. Torino hadn't even scored in the last 10 games against Juventus, dating back to a 2-2 draw in 2002. Both sides came into the game on the back of European commitments, with Juventus winning in Sweden, while Torino were held 0-0 at home by Belgian side Club Brugge.
This time it was Juventus' opponents taking the field in 3-5-2 formation, with Giampiero Ventura's side looking to soak up pressure and take advantage of their flying wingbacks and the ex-Juventus strike partnership of Amauri and Fabio Quagliarella. Massimiliano Allegri again sent his side out in 4-3-1-2, with the welcome return of Patrice Evra, who took his role back from the suspended Simone Padoin. Gianluigi Buffon was forced to sit this one out after aggravating a shoulder injury against Malmö.
A cold rain welcomed the teams to the pitch as Juve controlled the early minutes. Evra was a constant outlet down the left, and Juventus' high pressure made it difficult for the visitors to build from the back. An early goal was just reward for the pressure, with Vidal stroking home a penalty after Omar El Kaddouri was judged to have blocked Andrea Pirlo's free kick with a raised arm.
Juve's goal seemed to spur Torino forward, and Il Toro got their reward just minutes after the opening goal when Bruno Peres picked up an errant Lichtsteiner cross and tore down Juventus' left flank, leaving Evra and Arturo Vidal in the dust before cannoning a shot in off the far post.
The game flowed back and forth with both sides enjoying decent spells of possession, with Torino getting perhaps the better chances on the break. Juventus struggled to put shots on target for much of the game, and Torino deserves credit for their defensive organization and aggression on the counter, particularly through the wing-backs Peres and Matteo Darmian.
Things seemed to be slipping away from Juventus as the clock ticked down, with Stephan Lichsteiner getting a nasty cut and two quick yellow cards for his troubles. The right back will now be suspended two games, one for the red and another for card accumulation, leaving the Old Lady once again struggling for fullbacks.
Just as the curtain seemed to be closing, with Torino finally getting a point from the Derby, Andrea Pirlo sent the visitors packing with a brilliant first-time hit from well outside the box. It wasn't the best night for the Italian midfielder, with shots over the bar and a few long passes that didn't find their target, but in the end his class told with a stunning winner.
News of Pirlo's last-minute goal was surely met with shaking heads in Rome, where the Giallorossi needed a win over Inter — which they got, 4-2 — to keep Juventus from extending their lead at the top of the table. The late goal should also raise Juventus spirits ahead of the difficult and highly-charged away game at Fiorentina's Artemio Franchi.
Juventus dominated the early passages of play, with high pressure keeping Torino pinned deep in their own half. Evra was back in the side after only making the bench in Malmö, and his contribution was immediately noted with a string of crosses from the left. Despite the early domination Juventus struggled to put shots on target, with the final ball often just evading the players in the box.
Torino had an early chance on the counter following a misplaced pass from Lichtsteiner, but Vidal and Carlos Tévez tracked back to concede a free kick which Quagliarella shot harmlessly toward Marco Storari in goal. Soon after Juventus had a dangerous free kick of their own, with Paul Pogba brought down on the edge of the box as he attempted to control Fernando Llorente's layoff with a classy "roulette." The free kick was perfectly positioned for Pirlo, and referee Daniele Orsato gave the wall very specific instructions about where to put their arms.
El Kaddouri failed to follow those instructions, and conceded a silly penalty by blocking the shot with a raised elbow. Vidal's penalty had to be retaken following encroachment, but he sent Torino goalkeeper Jean-François Gillet the wrong way the second time of asking to put Juve into a deserved lead.
Now a goal down, Torino lifted their game and began to more aggressively transition out of their own half. Bruno Peres showed his attacking intent with a dangerous cross towards Amauri. Minutes later the Brazilian wingback did it all himself, scoring what will surely be remembered as one of the goals of the season.
A Lichtsteiner cross from the right missed everyone in black-and-white, eventually falling to Peres' feet. The Brasilian was off like a rocket, leaving Evra in his wake and destroying Vidal's angle as the Chilean made a halfhearted effort to cover. As he neared the box Giorgio Chiellini was slow to react, held in place by the threat of Torino's strikers as Peres lined up the perfect shot, across Marco Storari and in off the post.
After the goal Torino finally had some spells of possession, with Peres and Amauri mishitting decent chances from inside the box. In the final minutes of the first half Juventus regained control, with a couple of well-worked passages of play near the edge of the box featuring Tévez, Vidal, and Claudio Marchisio, but Gillet in the Torino goal was never troubled. One last attack came from Torino as the half came to a close, with Leonardo Bonucci misjudging a long ball to give El Kaddouri time and space, but his cross was well cut out by a backtracking Marchisio.
The second half started much like the first, with Juventus generally controlling things and Evra putting in crosses from the left. There seemed to be a plan from Juventus to work more short corners, as Tévez and Pirlo created several crossing opportunities but were not able to find teammates. In the 52nd minute Torino had another chance on the counter, as Amauri and Quagliarella combined to win a long ball and get behind the Juventus center backs. Amauri's cross looked perfect for Quagliarella, but the Torino striker lost his footing under pressure from Evra.
There were chances at both ends as Amauri directed a header towards goal that was easily handled, while at the other end Gillet was quick off his line to sweep up a ball in behind. Bonucci tried his luck from range, but Gillet reacted well.
Allegri's first substitution was to remove Llorente after an ineffective performance from the striker, bringing Álvaro Morata on in his place. The move had little immediate impact, as Torino continued to threaten with long counterattacking runs down the flanks. The next change to the Juventus team brought Roberto Pereyra on for Marchisio. El Kaddouri continued to try and make amends for his error, but Juventus kept throwing bodies in the way.
Lichtsteiner picked up a head wound in a clash defending a corner, and while he was off receiving treatment Juventus nearly took the lead with a quick break through Tévez and Morata, only for Alessandro Gazzi to get back in the nick of time. Perhaps Lichtsteiner should have stayed off for longer, as his first involvement when back on the pitch was to pick up a yellow for arguing a handball call, resulting in a suspension for card accumulation.
Vidal put the ball in the net for a third time on 76' following good work from Tévez to draw in the defense and feed Roberto Pereyra for the cross, but the linesman's flag was raised. Soon after Lichtsteiner's day went from bad to worse, as he picked up a second yellow for a late challenge on El Kaddouri, meaning an early shower and another game suspension.
Peres continued to try his luck from distance, but fortunately for Juventus his left foot let him down. El Kaddouri had another chance as he cut into the box from the left, but Evra was again alert to come across. Marco Benassi had a chance at the rebound, but this time Vidal got in the block.
Down to 10 men, Juventus still regained the initiative as the clock ticked down, but Torino's dogged defending generally kept the Old Lady from creating good chances. Juventus was often able to get to the byline or cut the ball back across the top of the box, but a Torino player was always alert to block at the decisive moment.
All of the rear-guard action came to nothing however, as in the final minute of stoppage time Andrea Pirlo made the telling contribution. Evra won the ball back high up the field, and the ball made its way through Pogba, Morata, and Vidal who cut it back for one last effort. And this time, Pirlo caught it perfectly. The ball flew into the bottom corner from all of 25 yards, leaving Gillet stranded and Torino, once again, Bianconero.
Storari: 6 Nothing he could do on the goal, stopped what he should have and didn't leave any dangerous rebounds.
Lichtsteiner: 5 A disappointing performance from the Swiss fullback, who had less attacking influence than in recent weeks and rounded it off by getting two quick yellows, meaning he will miss important games with Fiorentina and Sampdoria.
Bonucci: 6 Generally handled Amauri well, holding his own in the aerial duel. Two mistakes in misjudging long balls could have been punished on a different day.
Chiellini: 6 Like his defensive partner, limited Quagliarella and Amauri to scraps, although one comical passage of play early in the second half could have given Torino the lead.
Evra: 6.5 Welcome back! Fresh off an injury layoff the French fullback was constantly putting in crosses from the left, and on another day could have grabbed an assist. Always ready to cover for his center backs, he takes some blame on Peres' goal but really should have had more help.
Pogba: 5.5 An unspectacular display from the young Frenchman, who failed to record either a shot or a tackle. His technique and strength are always impressive, however, and he played a vital role in winning the free kick that led to Juventus' first goal.
Pirlo: 6.5 Another vital goal from the Italian maestro, what more can be said. Struggled at times to find the perfect pass, however still created chances for teammates and hit an incredible winner.
Marchisio: 6.5 The Italian midfielder was everywhere today, running his legs off to cover for those around him and contribute in the attacking third. Did not get as many shooting chances as in other games, which perhaps has to do with Torino's good defending.
Vidal: 6 Took his penalty well both times of asking, and contributed as always to winning the ball back high up the pitch. Could have done more to slow down Peres for the Torino goal.
Llorente: 5 A rough day at the office for the Spanish striker, who could hardly put a foot right. Won a few high balls, but was unable to consistently trouble Gillet or find teammates with his layoffs.
Tévez: 6 Working hard as always, Tévez was critical to Juventus' high pressure, but did not get as many shooting opportunities as he would have liked. When Morata came on and offered more movement things began to open up for the Argentine.
Morata: 6 Brought movement and pace to the attack and combined well with his teammates. Perhaps in for a starting role on Friday.
Pereyra: 6 Initially brought on to play behind the strikers and then moved to right-back following Lichtsteiner's ejection, the Argentina showed his versatility while always looking to dribble and create.
Ogbonna: N/A Brought on for Tévez as Allegri switched to a very high back three.
Allegri: 6.5 Made the right call in taking Llorente off, which he could have done even earlier. Bringing on Ogbonna for Tévez seemed crazy, but the switch to a high-pressing back three played a role in winning the ball back for Pirlo's winner. Will be disappointed in Lichtsteiner for getting two fairly silly yellow cards, leaving the team short of fullbacks once again.
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