Juventus, on the road, in Florence, down 2-1 on aggregate after the first leg. Not exactly the kind of situation that makes you full of optimism or positive feelings. Luckily, Juventus made us think otherwise even before the first half at the Franchi came to an end.
That 2-1 aggregate scoreline got flipped — fast. First Alessandro Matri, then Roberto Pereyra right before halftime. Goodbye, aggregate deficit. Hello, brand new 3-2 lead. Once Leonardo Bonucci's right foot hammered home goal No. 3, Juventus were well on their way to the Coppa italia final thanks to a brilliant performance. On the road. At the Franchi.
Just like we all thought would happen, right?
Ehhhhh, I dunno about that one.
Oh yeah, they also got Marco Storari a clean sheet. So, when looking at the end result in the two legs against Fiorentina, it's pretty remarkable how Juve were able to overcome what happened in the first leg — at their home stadium, no less — and advance with so many important pieces sitting back in Turin watching the game.
That's not only the mark of a good team, but one that will be lifting at least one fancy trophy come the end of the season at the very minimum.
Let's just do a quick season recap in the span of one paragraph, shall we? You're telling me Juventus is currently in the Champions League quarterfinals with a very good chance of advancing even further, the Coppa Italia final against a team TBD tomorrow and a 14-point lead in Serie A with nine games to go? That's pretty good, I'd say.
(Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images)
Yeah, it's been a pretty good season for you, Max. You've got every reason to smile in pictures. (Although, I still really like the funny ones, so just remember that.) That praise you received after Juve beat Borussia Dortmund, well it's about to return with the absolutely wonderful performance against Fiorentina. You go on the road to a hostile atmosphere like the Franchi is and throttle La Viola 3-0 deserves that kind of praise.
A job well done to everybody. Especially to you, Mister Allegri.
Random thoughts and observations
- Better second leg team performance, Juventus vs. Borussia Dortmund or Juventus vs. Fiorentina? Just go right ahead and discuss.
- Another question: Why, up 3-0 in the final few minutes, is Álvaro Morata even risking some kind of serious punishment from the referee when going in for a tackle? That red card will cost him a spot in the Coppa Italia final, which is a shame considering how well he played against Fiorentina and this season as a whole. Prepare your Carlos Tévez and Fernando Llorente complaints now.
- Claudio Marchisio will also miss the Coppa Italia final, and that is probably going to be a bigger loss than that of Morata. It's amazing how less than two weeks ago we were thinking Marchisio's season was done, then he's out there just flat out dominating the midfield against Fiorentina. He was everywhere — making tackles, tracking back on defense, pretty much everything else you can think of. His tackle was what kickstarted what ended up being Matri's opener in the 20th minute, and then his corner was the assist on Bonucci's game-clincher. That's just the perfect bookends to another great game from Marchisio. Yeah, that guy who had a torn ACL for about eight hours a week and a half ago.
- This was the kind of game that reminds me why Roberto Pereyra is valuable piece to the puzzle. He's been a little inconsistent and frustrating sometimes this season, but when he puts it all together like that, it's pretty fun to watch. Is he full-time starter material on a team that goes deep into Europe? I don't know. But he's definitely a good player to have around — both because of his versatility and ability to make an impact wherever he plays on the field.
- So, what were you thinking when you heard Tévez wasn't going to be playing? Probably a little sad, right? Well, Alessandro Matri definitely helped fill the void. It was more than just the goal, too. His first start since coming back to Juve was a vintage kind of Matri performance. It's exactly what Juve needed with Tévez missing out. Not a bad guy to have around on the bench, I gotta admit.
- Stefano Sturaro is a bulldog. He is a relentless bulldog who is showing he can hang on this level of Italian football. He has gotten two starts in a row and hasn't really shown us any reason why he doesn't deserve any more playing time.
- Remember how I was worried about Mo Salah running wild on the Juventus defense like he did in the first leg last month? Yeah, well, Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini did a pretty good job of keeping Fiorentina's hottest striker off the scoresheet. The goals and the advancement into the Coppa Italia final are the headliners — and rightfully so — but keeping somebody like Salah, who was playing so well, quiet is a pretty big accomplishment as well.
- What's Kingsley Coman gotta do to get more than five minutes of playing time? Just throwing it out there.
- Three goals at the Franchi. It's still sinking in.
- No Tévez. No Pogba. No Pirlo. No Asamoah. No Buffon. But there was Padoin. Take that!