It was always going to be billed as "Alessandro Del Piero vs. Juventus" no matter what anybody else said. And that was perfectly okay. It's hard to avoid something like that when Juventus and Del Piero are on the same field — regardless of the situation. Even more the case when you consider it's Del Piero against Juventus.
But, with or without Del Piero, the big picture in all of this was about Juventus continuing their preseason preparations with the 30th of August in Verona as the target date to begin their latest title defense.
There was good. There was bad. There was ugly. There was also Del Piero. Even with the other stuff, I'm cool with anything that involves watching Del Piero play the game he is still quite good at.
In their second game of their three-game preseason tour, Juve needed a late second-half flurry to beat the A-League All-Stars. Not exactly the same kind of 8-1 beatdown they handed out a few days earlier in Jakarta. Maybe the sluggishness was because of all the travel they've done the past week, maybe some of it was because it's the 10th day of August. Either way, Juve weren't that great on a night that had so many other things surrounding it.
Del Piero: "It was a great... What do I say. I don't want to say 'farewell'. Tonight was amazing to play against Juventus"— Patrick Gullaci (@pgullaci) August 10, 2014
In conclusion: Juventus looked like a team that was just about a month into preseason training.
RANDOM THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS
- I'd love to know what was going through Angelo Ogbonna's head on the first goal. First he gets caught in absolute no man's land between two A-League players, then he gets dribbled with the utmost of ease before the goal is scored. Not exactly a moment he's going to want to build off of in the preseason.
- I'd love to know what was going through Angelo Ogbonna's head for pretty much the entire game. Sure it's preseason and everything, but you'd at least like to see some kind of improvement, right?
- Is it preseason? Yes. Is it a small sample size? Yes. But just about this time last year, the Italian papers were just about to start to wonder what was up with Fernando Llorente. Now, he's scoring goals like crazy and playing just about as well as anybody in a Juve jersey this preseason. Times have changed from one year to the next, and that seems perfectly okay with Mr. Llorente.
So, 'Nando, keep the good times going into the games that really do count, okay?
- Patrice Evra picked a good time to finally land a solid cross. Picked a good player to aim it at, too.
- Paul Pogba was as nonchalant as nonchalant gets on Juventus' second goal. The control, the volley, the reaction to scoring a beautiful goal. Almost like "Yeah, been there, done that. Onto the next one."
- For everybody who got their hopes up that ADP might be sporting a Juventus jersey for a couple of minutes before the final whistle was blown, I feel your pain. Let the summer of things that would make sense not actually happen roll on.
- This was sent to me on the BWRAO Twitter account. Pretty great. Just a couple of old friends.
- I am happy to see Simone Pepe playing again. So should you. Is he the most skilled player ever? Obviously not. But the guy can be useful. And with the injury problems he's had the last two years, it's a pretty big accomplishment that he's even out there and doing things. It's not the easiest thing to come off basically two seasons worth of injuries and try to compete at this level. So far, so good, Simone.
- If anything, these first two preseason tour games have told Juventus that they've got one heck of a fan base and group of supporters in that part of the world. And if they are back there in a couple of years, I won't be surprised at all.
- Game Time Thread: Juventus vs. A-League All-Stars
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- Report: Juventus still trying to sign Olympiakos defender Kostas Manolas
- Juventus in Indonesia: What did the Bianconeri's visit to Jakarta mean to you?