For as goos as Juventus' first half was, the second half was the polar opposite. You want a comparison on how to play football and then how to not play football, watch what Juventus just did.
Go ahead. Do it. That's the prime example of how to build a lead through flat out domination and then give it all back in the dying embers of a game because you flip your switch off.
This is how good Juventus was in the first half.
Juventus possession: 71 percent
Hellas Verona possession: 29 percent
And this is what the result of such first-half dominance was.
Juventus goals: 2
Hellas Verona goals: 0
Juve built the lead through a pair of goals from striker Carlos Tevez, as the Argentine striker broke his 2014 duck in quick fashion with his first-half brace. Everything was rolling at that point. Juve were dominating, Antonio Conte was running up and down the sidelines celebrating goals.
Here I was ready to talk about how Juventus, carried by Tevez, kept rolling through Serie A during their current unbeaten run — and then it all came crashing down. Yep. An incredibly poor second half was capped off by Juan Gomez Taleb's 95th-minute equalizer. Talk about disappointing. If that isn't, I don't know what is.
#Conte: There were some serious lapses of concentration in the second half. Hopefully this will serve as a lesson for the future #VeronaJuve— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) February 9, 2014
Just frustrating. Incredibly, incredibly frustrating on so many levels. Juve do all that work in the first half to put in that kind of performance after the break and see the lead disappear with a completely lackluster second half.
At least the margin atop Serie A is still plus-9 after Roma and Lazio played out a scoreless draw. So we've got that going for us, which is nice.
Random thoughts and observations
- According to WhoScored, Andrea Pirlo had 107 touches in the first half. Let me repeat that: 107 touches IN THE FIRST HALF. It was good for a 94 percent pass completion rate. That's just so incredibly insane. If only they kept that first-half mojo going...
- You realize how lucky we are to have a backup like Martin Caceres just chillin' on the bench most games? Put him on just about any other club in Italy and he's probably a starter. On this Juve team, he's started only four games after today's game.
- Just a reminder of the first-half possession numbers...
Juventus: 71 percent
Hellas Verona: 29 percent
That's good, right?
- Could Juventus have put away the match late in the first half or early in the second half? Maybe, but it's not like they were peppering Verona's goal and just failing to convert on their chances over and over and over again. If they kept the pressure up from the first half, though, you'd like to think a third goal would have come at some point.
- Speaking of second-half subs: Dani Osvaldo's debut was pretty okay. That's not just because he hit one off the outside of the far post on his second touch in a Juventus jersey, although it certainly helped make a good first impression.
- Food for thought: Claudio Marchisio was about to come on just as Giorgio Chiellini got hurt. That's rather unfortunate timing, don't you think? I haven't seen anything from Conte saying who Marchisio was going to come on for, but you had to think it was for either Arturo Vidal or Paul Pogba considering neither of them were playing all that well. And with the way Verona were playing in the second half, this was the kind of game where Marchisio's defensive work rate would have really been useful.
- Can somebody please remind the Juventus players how to properly defend a set piece? This is getting quite annoying. Thank you.
- You better thank Gigi Buffon for his miracle save in the second half or we'd possibly be talking about a loss rather than a 2-2 draw. Thank you again, San Gigi. You're pretty darn good.
- Juventus unbeaten streak update: 15 games, 40 goals scored, 8 goals allowed.
This has been a Juventus unbeaten streak update.
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- Juventus 3:1 That Other Team From Milano - Bianconeri dispatch of Nerazzurri with ease