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Juventus 2 - Tottenham Hotspur 1: Initial reaction and random observations

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Juventus FC v Tottenham Hotspur - 2016 International Champions Cup Australia Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images

Because it was a friendly, I can lede a post-game thread with something like this: If we were going to decide Tuesday’s Juventus-Tottenham winner based solely on the attractiveness of the kits being worn, then the boys in blue would have won in a landslide. But that’s not how these things are won, even in friendlies halfway across the world.

Ah, yet the same team that won the jersey battle also won the game.

Another good thing that happened besides Juventus looking quite fancy in the new away kits? Well, it’s the simple fact that against a very inexperienced and not all that great backline from the English opposition, Juventus did exactly what you would have hoped for entering the game. It was about as bright of a start as you could have hoped, with Paulo Dybala and debutant Medhi Benatia scoring goals less than 15 minutes in to give the reigning Serie A champions an early 2-0 lead that they rode to a 2-1 victory over Tottenham at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Juventus came out strong, they jumped on a team that was far from the full-strength side that will hoping to challenge for the Premier League title again this season and gave a rather pensive-looking Max Allegri at kickoff a reason to cheer up a bit despite the chilly weather in Melbourne.

In a friendly where Allegri knew full well that his starters weren’t going to play the entire game, that’s about as good of a start as you could have drawn up from this stage of the preseason. Allegri did stay true to his word on what kind of defense he would run out (four-man backline) and that the starters would get more minutes than they did in the penalty shootout loss to Melbourne Victory. Miralem Pjanic got about 65 minutes in his unofficial Juventus debut, Dybala was out there until around the 80th minute, Daniele Rugani was out there long enough to wear the captain’s armband.

It was a step in the right direction, that’s for sure. Juventus did good things, and Juventus won. I like when those two things can be used in the same sentence.

Random thoughts and observations

  • The announcers on the ESPN stream I was watching opened the pre-game show by saying how surprised they were that Allegri “hadn’t moved to a big club yet.” Not a good way to start things out and get on our good side, guys!
  • First thought that popped into my head after the opening kickoff? These dudes are pressing so high up the field and it’s a damn friendly. Max wants his squad ready to go come the opening weekend of the Serie A season.
  • You could tell that it was the final week of July because Juventus’ set pieces were pretty much what you would expect less than a month into the preseason. Something tells me that Dybala and Pjanic will get on the same page when it comes to free kicks relatively soon. Just a hunch I’ve got, you guys.
  • Like I said in the post before the Melbourne Victory matchup, watching Daniele Rugani lead the Juventus defense is going to be fun to watch. And through two friendlies thus far, the young Italian hasn’t done anything to deter that notion. I think the best example came on a counterattack from Spurs late in the first half. Rugani played it absolutely perfect, eventually clearing the ball to Hernanes (who then turned it over). Rugani was one of Juve’s best players in the game. The kid is pretty good, you know.
  • Seriously, these blue jerseys are beautiful. Some great work by adidas on these.
  • Another jersey-related item: All of Juve’s goalkeeper kits this season look to be very, very bright. At least we won’t miss them on the field when they’re just standing around watching those exceptional defenders in front of them do their work.
  • Pol Lirola was the only primavera player to get the start against Tottenham, and for the second straight he held his own. Playing in his more natural right back position in the back four Allegri trotted out, you could see that the 18-year-old Spaniard has a bright future ahead of him if he continues to develop and improve. If those rumors about him going to Sassuolo on loan turn out to be true, that’s going to be a pretty good test for a player who could find himself back at Juventus in not too long.
  • It’s a relatively small sample size thus far, but Mario Lemina is playing like somebody who wants to stick around Juventus despite all of these transfer rumors flying around. He’s had two very good games to open the preseason friendly circuit.
  • Somebody who looked like he wanted to go hangout with the kangaroos instead of play against Tottenham? Hernanes.
  • As far as we know, nobody ended up getting hurt before the final whistle sounded. And, when it comes to playing these preseason friendlies, that kind of occurrence is pretty high up there when it comes to the priority list.