There was a bit of digging done after the full time whistle came at the Juventus Stadium. And then a bit more. And some more. And finally, after yet more digging, it has been revealed — Juventus’ last home defeat came almost two years ago on 13th of April 2013, in Champions League quarterfinal against Bayern Munchen. An unbeaten streak of 47 games perpetuated over the JStadium since then — fairly decent, one would argue.
But as everything else, those streaks come to an end at some point and it was Fiorentina who ended it for the Bianconeri, getting their noses in front over the two-leg encounter of the Coppa Italia. That’s good news.
No, not the defeat, obviously; the two-leg tie.
Winning the Coppa Italia proved to be rather difficult over the past 20 years for Juventus, considering they haven’t won it at all. The last success came versus Parma in 1995 and the closest the Old Lady got since then were three runner-up places. This is why juventini formed a world-wide chorus voicing solidarity in moaning and complaining about the failed attempts of lifting the 10th Coppa and, subsequently, becoming the first club in history to receive the silver star.
And after the latest setback, it appears to many supporters that there will be some more waiting on the cards, but perhaps those are too quick to write off the second leg. Winning at Stadio Artemio Franchi is not such an insurmountable problem, really. In fact, Juventus managed it last year in Europa League when, after a 1-1 draw in the first leg, Andrea Pirlo’s free-kick goal was enough to secure the win.
Despite the draw being the most common result when the two clubs faced each other in Florence, a motivated Juventus would definitely be able to do the job.
This defeat should be a wake-up call — not only for the players, but for Max Allegri as well. Questions were raised after the horrible last 20 minutes played earlier this week against Roma but a change in attitude is yet to be seen. Since all the rumours of €100m Paul Pogba started, the young Frenchman hasn’t really been the same – too often switches off on big occasions. Arturo Vidal is still trying to find his rhythm with small success, if at all, and the defence has particularly been a problem over the last month.
It was indeed a mixed side against Fiorentina but only Simone Padoin, Kinsgley Coman and Simone Pepe represent a clear downgrade, really. The introductions of Alvaro Morata and Roberto Pereyra changed nothing. The Argentine was even frustrating to watch because of his unbelievable poor decisions. This is why, the problem seems to lie within team’s mentality and focus ability. Juventus give the impression they drift off at times and in against decent opposition, punishment arrives instantly.
Roma, Dortmund, Fiorentina and even Cesena, already took advantage of it. Allegri has to mend this issue in order to keep Juventus steady in the course for the fourth Scudetto and, more importantly, advance in the next round of Champions Leauge.
Juventus started the game strongly and Vidal missed a huge chance in the second minute. Pogba played a brilliant through ball inside the box for Vidal who got past Jose Basanta with the first touch but then placed his shot narrowly wide of the far post from 10 yards.
Fiorentina had a good chance inside 10 minutes as well. Joaquin played a good long ball inside Juventus’ box which found Jasmin Kurtic unmarked at the far post but the Slovenian midfielder couldn’t find the target with his first-time volley.
Pogba had a good attempt from the edge of the area in the 10th minute but the ball was blocked and Juventus won a corner-kick. Simone Pepe took the corner but it was easily defended by the Viola defence who cleared the ball straight to Mohamed Salah, who was lurking just inside his own half.
The Egyptian only had Padoin to beat as he broke free on the counter and developed great pace to take the defender on easily. Salah sprinted all the way to Juventus’ box, then coolly sent his shot past Storari into the top corner, giving Fiorentina the lead in the 11th minute.
Coman won a yellow card for Kurtic in the 17th minute but came out limping from that duel, showing signs of an injury to his ankle.
Llorente levelled the score for Juventus in the 24th minute with a fantastic header. Pepe had plenty of time on the right side of the pitch to prepare an inch-perfect cross that found Llorente just outside the 6-yard-box. The Spaniard leaped over the defence and directed his header beautifully at the far post, leaving Neto rooted to the spot.
Storari made his first intervention of the game in the 31st minute, pushing over the bar Matias Fernandez’s powerful shot from about 20 yards out. Following the corner kick, Juventus’ defence had problems clearing the ball and it reached Jose Basanta whose diving header hit the outside of the post.
Coman couldn’t shake off the knock received earlier and was taken off in the 37th minute, replaced by Carlos Tevez. The Argentine had a good chance just seconds later as he broke free on a counter attack on the left flank but his shot from inside the box was blocked and Fiorentina cleared the danger.
Juventus had the last chance of the first half in the 45th minute when Pogba flicked a ball in for Padoin, whose cross found Vidal at the far post but the Chilean couldn’t direct his header on target.
There was an early first half-chance for Juventus in the 47th minute when Pepe sent a low cross for Tevez who couldn’t connect with the ball. Storari made a great save to deny Micah Richards just two minutes later. The Englishman played a one-two with Fernandez inside Juventus’ box and then blasted a shot at the near post, but Storari parried the ball away with his left foot.
Salah scored his second goal of the game in the 56th minute after a huge mistake from Marchisio. Juventus’ captain received the ball outside his box and tried to play a pass to Padoin on the left but sent it straight to Salah’s feet. The 22-year-old midfielder only had to take a few steps to get inside the box, before sliding a ball at the far post behind a hopeless Storari.
Tevez had a great chance to level the scoreline in the 62nd minute. Marchisio chipped a ball over the defence for Morata who cut it back inside the 6-yard-box to Tevez. The Argentine hit it first time but despite the close range, Neto showed great reflexes to keep the ball out. Two minutes later, Pogba sent a cross from the left side but the ball took a weird trajectory and was heading for the top far corner when Neto tipped it over the bar, crashing with the post in the process.
In the 72nd minute, Josip Ilicic, who replaced the injured Mario Gomez in the 63rd minute, received a ball from Salah just outside Juventus’ area and after a neat first touch, the Slovenian went for the long shot but the ball flew inches wide of the post.
With 10 minutes to go, Caceres did some good work down the right flank to send a low cross which found Pereyra completely free in a central position in the box but the Argentine’s shot was very poor as he barely connected with the ball.
Caceres misjudged a long ball in the 86th minute and Bonucci weirdly decided to stop and not follow the ball, allowing Alessandro Diamanti and Ilicic to break into a 2:1 situation against Ogobnna. However, the Italian defender stood his ground firmly, managing to clear the ball behind for a corner kick.
Juventus pressed Fiorentina in the final minutes with no effect. Pogba’s played a good ball in from the left side with two minutes to go but none of the bianconeri in the box managed to get a shot in. A final weak effort from the Frenchman concluded the last action of the game, as referee Paolo Valeri blew the final whistle.
Storari: 6 Made a couple of good saves but was left discovered at both goals, being unable to prevent them.
Caceres: 5.5 Frustrating night, as it was for the whole defence, as the Uruguayan had a hard time containing Joaquin and Fernandez.
Bonucci: 6 Probably the best performer at the back – the closest to a decent standard. Sent a few precise long balls, but was out of position too often.
Ogbonna: 5.5 The Italian gave the impression he was having a stroll in the park when Salah scored his second goal. Poor performance, heavily undermined by the Egyptian
Padoin: 4.5 Horrible.
Vidal: 5 Seemed very lively in the first 15 minute but then switched off and was hardly involved in any decent attacking action
Marchisio: 5 Childish mistake to lose the ball in that position for the stand-in captain. His passing throughout the game was of a very low standard
Pogba: 5.5 Was more active than his fellow teammates from midfield, but seemed too relaxed at times. Not the usual strong presence on the pitch
Pepe: 6 Started the game very well, delivering a beautiful cross for the goal, but couldn’t continue in the same manner
Llorente: 6.5 It’s been a long time since the Spaniard had such a good game. Besides the goal, his passing and hold-up play worked great
Coman: 6 Unlucky to pick-up an injury and was replaced before half-time, but the Frenchman didn’t really make a great impact until then
Tevez: 5.5 Almost made an instant impact after he Replaced Coman in the 37th minute. However, his game wasn’t great afterwards, missing a good chance and the Argentine also seemed tired
Morata: 6 Was quite lively upfront and sent a couple of good crosses, but couldn’t create any chance for himself
Pereyra: 5 Despite showing some nice skills, was really ineffective, missing a great chance and taking the worst decisions
Allegri: 5.5 Rotating the squad was something everyone expected and giving the home advantage it seemed as Juventus would grab the win without the best XI. It didn’t work out for Allegri though and the 4-3-3 with Ogbonna and Bonucci as central defenders was once again suicidal — re: Cesena. He’ll probably consider other options next time out
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