Who knows what the future — both immediate and long distance — holds, but at least for one day we can say it was money well spent.
Juventus' two big summer striker singings came through to deliver Saturday's 2-0 win over Lazio in the 2015 Italian Super Cup and give the Old Lady her 50th domestic trophy in club history. (That's 33 Scudetti, 10 Coppa Italias, and 7 Supercoppas if you're trying to add things up at home real quick.) And once Juventus finally found their range and dialed in their scoring touch, the goals came just the way we had hoped with that kind of talent on the field at the striker position.
Stefano Sturaro to Mario Mandzukic — bang.
Paul Pogba to Paulo Dybala — bang.
It went from 0-0 to 2-0 real quick.
Within two minutes, Juventus' drab and relatively uninspiring Supercoppa performance turned into a 2-0 lead that they would never come close to coughing up. And the goals were oh so beautiful in their own unique ways, too. Mandzukic scored a classic kind of prima punta goal as he went up and over the defenders marking him to score the go-ahead goal with a powerful header into the bottom corner.
And what about Dybala's first goal in a Juventus shirt? Well, let's just go ahead and watch it because why the hell not.
First touch, on the left foot right after he moved into a nice pocket of open space in the penalty area as Pogba finds him open with a nice piece of skill of his own. If that's what Paulo Dybala will continue to do as his Juventus career goes on, well then we're in for plenty more goals to celebrate and post on Vine.
(I'm completely okay with that.)
I'd also like to imagine Beppe Marotta was sitting back in his seat at the Shanghai Stadium with a pretty content look on his face after Dybala smashed the Pogba pass into the top of the Lazio goal. It wasn't a great team performance by any means, but two summer signings being directly responsible for Juventus' latest trophy has to make the director general feel good about the business he's conducted.
And, in the grand scheme of things, I guess taking a trophy back to Turin makes dealing with the wind and terrible field conditions a little easier to handle. And when the medical report upon their return to training has no new names on it, then things will be even better.
.@OfficialAllegri: "I'm delighted for the boys. We needed a game like this, with character, good defensive shape and goalscoring chances."— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) August 8, 2015
If Max says it, then who am I to disagree? He pretty much sums things up right there.
Random thoughts and observations
- Paul Pogba's first free kick as Juventus' No. 10 went about 35 feet wide of its intended target. They should just take back the number right now and give it to somebody else. (Not really.)
- In all seriousness, Pogba's first game as Juve's No. 10 wasn't spectacular, but it had its moments. He has welcomed the attention and essentially put himself under the microscope even more than before. The highlight was the assist to Dybala on the second goal, and there's no doubting that he will probably have a lot more responsibility in setting up his teammates on top of scoring goals of his own.
Basically like the team as a whole, not a bad start for the new No. 10.
- Gigi Buffon gets a shutout in the first official match of the season. There's the icing on the Supercoppa cake. Way to reward the captain.
- That cross from Sturaro on Mandzukic's goal ... beautiful, man.
- There was a moment in the second half where Leonardo Bonucci blocked a shot, then from the seat of his shorts, blocked the follow-up shot and nearly did it twice within about a five-second span. Buffon didn't even touch the ball during this little piece of action right by left goal post. I bring this up because it not only kept the shutout intact, but it's another example of how Bonucci has become so good and so important to Juventus' defense.
- Seeing Buffon — who is now tied with Dejan Stankovic with six Supercoppas in a playing career — lift a trophy over his head while having a look of complete joy on his face will never EVER get old. Well, unless you root for Roma or Inter or somebody else, but I don't, so no need to worry.
- I said it in the game thread and it bears repeating: I'm not going to overreact in either direction as to how Juventus played against Lazio. The weather sucked, the field sucked, the television broadcast was the worst of them all and it's not the kind of game that can determine something one way or the other. Juventus got the trophy, and that's good. They got out of there healthy (as far as we know now), and that's even better. That should be that. If Juve are playing poorly in the Champions League, that's reason to be upset. But on the eighth day of August? Nah, there's still plenty of time for this team to gel and grow together.