Simone Zaza walked a fine line between good and evil Wednesday night. He could have been sent off once. Hell, he could have been sent off more than once. He was a little too out of control at times. But much to the chagrin of Torino players, coaches and fans alike, Juve's No. 7 remained on the field. And he reminded them of it not once, but twice.
Behind Zaza's first career brace in bianconero, yet another Paulo Dybala goal that made our hearts melt with happiness and Paul Pogba's free kick to put the cherry on top, Juventus advanced to the quarterfinals of the Coppa Italia with a 4-0 win over city rivals Torino in the season's bonus Derby della Mole. Those kinds of wins are fun — especially against Little Brother Toro.
Just to throw it out there, here's what Zaza has done in his brief yet productive stint with Juve:
10 appearances in all competitions, five goals scored
That's pretty good production from somebody looked at as your fourth on the striker power rankings.
Maybe more impressive than the brace Zaza after he could have easily been sent off for a second yellow just mere moments before he scored each of his goals, is the final scoreline against a team where low-scoring, last-second wins have become the norm. If you told me Juventus-Torino would finish 4-0 and have Juve make it look so incredibly easy at the same time, I probably would have laughed at you. But when you've got a team getting better by the game helped out by an absolutely stupid tackle by Cristian Molinaro, then that's what happens.
Molinaro goes off, then the flood gates opened.
Goal, goal and another goal for good measure. It's just the latest sign that this Juventus team is hitting its stride. Too bad we're about to take a couple of weeks off, though. The way Juve is playing right now, I wish they just went right on through the holiday break and continued this momentum that they've built since the early days of October rolled around.
It was a great game, Paul, there's no denying that at this point. And based on how dangerous in front of goal he was, it was also great that Zaza didn't get sent off for one of those tackles that were a wee bit of control. But hey, it's not like that's the only thing that killed Torino's chances of winning Wednesday night, that's for sure.
Random thoughts and observations
- I guess the best thing to happen in Daniele Rugani's first ever Juventus start is that we barely heard his name called on the television broadcast at all.
- If we were curious to see if Neto was rusty at all after barely playing at all this season, I guess we would have asked for a better and/or more challenging game to get our results. Outside of hauling in a couple of crosses, the Brazilian keeper did next to nothing.
- Paulo Dybala dedicated his goal to Ale & Ricky. Class.
- Paul Pogba dedicated his goal to an 11-year-old Juventus fan named Bryan who is suffering from cancer. Class.
- Both of those players above are 22 years old. That's, y'know, class.
- Thanks to Pogba, Juventus finally has a goal from a free kick. It was a pretty nice one, too.
- He scuffed a couple of nice chances in front of goal, but Álvaro Morata's assist on Zaza's first goal was really, really good. The guy needs a goal to get some serious confidence going, but it's not like this game was a total wash. I thought he played relatively well all things considered.
- Claudio Marchisio didn't complete his first pass against Torino, which means he wouldn't complete 100 percent of his passes for the second consecutive appearance. But he went on to successfully complete just about every other one he attempted after that. Juventus' midfield was in complete control against Torino. And is it any surprise that Juve have gone on this run now that the Marchisio-Khedira-Pogba midfield is healthy and performing well again? Nah, it shouldn't be.
- Here's your latest confirmation that Alex Sandro is really good. The guy is a beast.
- Molinaro sent in a cross on free kick that went about 15 feet wide of the Juventus goal. I mean, what else did you expect to happen when it's Molinaro sending in a cross? If anybody knows what's going to happen before it actually happens, it would be us.
- Max Allegri fielded a pretty strong starting XI in a Coppa Italia game, which may have surprised some of us knowing how Coppa Italia games usually work. Does that mean there will be plenty of squad rotation going down Sunday afternoon against Carpi to close out the calendar year? Maybe.