Juventus didn't have pleasant memories from their last trip to Emilia-Romanga, as they were beaten by Sassuolo 1-0 at Mapei Stadium. On Sunday morning, the Bianconeri visited Carpi, who have won only one of their last nine Serie A matches; nevertheless, the Biancorossi just achieved a shocking away victory versus Fiorentina in the Coppa Italia.
Juventus repeated the same 3-5-2 starting lineup that triumphed against Fiorentina in their last Serie A game; Max Allegri, utilized once again the partnership of Mario Mandzukic and Paulo Dybala on attack, leaving Simone Zaza and Álvaro Morata in the bench. On the other side, Fabrizio Castori deployed a 4-4-1-1 formation with the former Juventus player Marco Borriello as his only striker.
The match started as expected. Juventus had the possession of the ball while Carpi patiently waited to counterattack. Surprisingly, it was Carpi who took the lead after the first quarter-hour; Marco Borriello recovered a lost ball at midfield and run towards Juventus penalty box, after that he shattered Leonardo Bonucci and beat Buffon with a shot to the near post. However, Mario Mandzukic exorcised the Sassuolo ghost quickly. Just three minutes after Borriello's goal, Juan Guillermo Cuadrado sent a low cross that found Sami Khedira, Carpi goalkeeper Vid Belec superbly saved the German's shot, but Mandzukic took advantage of the rebound and performed a fast volley that sent the ball to the back of the net.
After the equalizer Juventus came to life. Vid Belec had to showcase his skills to save a pair of long-range efforts by Sami Khedira and Claudio Marchisio. Four minutes before halftime Patrice Evra sprinted near the touchline and crafted a beautiful cross; Mario Mandzukic raised, bullied Gabriel Silva and executed a devastating header that put Juventus in advantage.
When the complementary half begun, it looked like Juventus was in full control of the game. Just five minutes after the match restarted, Claudio Marchisio made a long Pirlo-like pass that situated Paul Pogba one-on-one with Belec, the Frenchman poked the ball to fulfill a clever score. Few minutes latter, Carpi dodge a killer dagger when a score by Daniele Rugani -who entered in the 2nd half for Andrea Barzagli- was denied because he was offside.
Carpi tried to comeback with a series of unorganized attacks but Juventus easily handled their threats; however, the injury time brought an exciting finale. At the 92nd minute, Luca Marrone curled a manageable cross from the right flank, Leonardo Bonucci tried to clear the danger, but instead his gawky effort ended in the back of Gianluigi Buffon's goal. One minute later, Carpi almost tie the match; Jerry Uche Mbakogu propelled an aggressive run towards the baseline and assisted Lorenzo Lollo who was alone in the penalty spot, fortunately for the bianconeri the midfielder's shot was abysmal.
Juventus played well and achieved their seven Serie A victory in a row; Nonetheless they can't afford to drop points in this kind of games. Let's hope that this scare serves as reminder to them.
Buffon 6 Maybe he could save Borriello's shot and Bonucci left him without a chance in the second goal. He had another solid performance.
Cuadrado 6.5 Showcased his skills on attack and defended with composure. The Colombian is showing his worth lately.
Barzagli 6 Good game by Barza, who had to leave early with an injury.
Bonucci 3 Terrible and shaky presentation by Leo. He was trashed by Borriello (yes! Marco Borriello) and scored an own goal.
Chiellini 6 Looked comfortable for most part of the match. Helped his side offensively.
Marchisio 6.5 He's mastering his position as the bianconeri regista. His assist to Pogba was beautiful.
Khedira 6.5 Worked really hard. He was all over the pitch and could easily score in a couple of occasions.
Pogba 7 A really smart game by the Frenchman. He showed why he's a natural playmaker. He scored with great personality.
Dybala 6 "La Joya" was quiet on this one. He tried tirelessly to open Carpi's defense.
Mandzukic 8.5 Remarkable game by the Croatian Hitman. Both of his finishes were imposing.
Rugani 6.5 Enter for Barzagli at the 57th minute. It was a nice cameo by the Tuscan youngster. He enjoyed his first Serie A playing time and delivered an adequate performance.
Morata 6 Enter for Dybala at the 69th minute. The Spaniard held the ball properly but failed to make an impact.
Lichtsteiner s/v Enter for Cuadrado at the 83rd minute.
It appears that he found his starting eleven. Mandzukic is enjoying a sweet winter thanks to him. It's important for Juventus to learn the Frosinone's lesson once and for all.
Things I Think I Think
- You know good things just happened when a Colombian and a Frenchman dance together.
- We almost remembered this game as "How the Bonucci stole Alegri's Christmas"
- Juventus need to stop the Ex Effect ASAP! Kingsley Coman and Arturo Vidal are coming.
- This was the final match of a wonderful 2015, thanks for reading this recap my fellow juventini and I wish you a great 2016!
- Fino alla Fine!