As cliché as it may sound, sometimes in derbies you need one moment of magic to overcome any kind of troubles your team may have had.
Douglas Costa provided that moment of magic for Juventus on Wednesday night.
Juventus’ lightning bolt of a Brazilian winger turned Torino’s failed attempt at a clearance around the top of the 18-yard box into one of the prettier goals you will see from a Juve player this season. In one fluid motion, Douglas Costa absolutely hammered home his first-half goal on the, ahem, half-volley to put Juventus in front as they beat Torino to advance to the semifinals of the Coppa Italia.
If you needed to know how well it was struck, just go back and look at the reaction from Claudio Marchisio, who was probably 10 or 15 yards behind the play.
Even before the ball hit the back of the net, Marchisio was already putting both hands above his head in celebration. He knew — and so did a lot of other people at Allianz Stadium, too.
That’s how good of a strike it was.
And for a good portion of the game after Douglas Costa’s screamer hit the top-right corner of the Torino goal, it was the only thing keeping Juventus in front of their cross-town rivals and little brother.
This was far from the 4-0 butt kicking that Juve gave Torino a couple of months ago. For how on fire Paulo Dybala was that day, it was somewhat of the opposite for Juve’s No. 10 on Wednesday night. Dybala had three or four really good scoring chances but couldn’t find the back of the net on any of them.
Sure, you could probably say that Juve were the better team on Wednesday, but it’s not like it was by some huge margin like it was earlier this season. This wasn’t exactly the stylistic kind of win like we’ve seen Juventus play out during the course of the last month or two. It’s not like Juventus took complete command of the game after Costa gave them the lead in the 15th minute.
It wasn’t until Mario Mandzukic doubled Juve’s lead is when there seemed to be some kind of separation between the two. And it sure was nice of Torino to wait until there was about 30 seconds left before they hit the 90-minute mark to actually show some kind of urgency to try and get on the scoreboard.
With that, a win that wasn’t all that pretty but still effective, Juventus has advanced to the semifinals of the Coppa Italia and will face Atalanta later this month.
Sounds good to me.
RANDOM THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS
- For how pretty his goal was, I kinda got tired of saying “Stay onside, Douglas!” as many times as I did during the course of this game. I’m sure my cat got tired of hearing it, too.
- With that being said, Douglas Costa is good and I would like him to play more often.
- Okay, so maaaaaaaaybe there was a foul by Sami Khedira right before Mandzukic scored Juventus’ second goal of the night. And by “maybe,” I mean “almost certainly.” They even pulled VAR out for this one and there was no foul, so I don’t even know what to think anymore.
- It’s such a shame that we were only able to watch Stefano Sturaro and Cristian Molinaro go up against each other on the same wing for 45 minutes.
- Seeing as there was a Milinkovic-Savic playing in goal for Torino on Wednesday night, I personally think that there should be a Milinkovic-Savic on both of the Serie A teams in Turin. That means, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, you know where to sign this summer.
- The Marchisio-Pjanic-Matuidi midfield is one that I would like to see play together a little more often going forward. That’s mainly because it’s probably the closest thing to a typical three-man midfield that we’ve seen so many times in the past.
- Juventus recorded another shutout. I guess we shouldn’t be surprised by this by now.
- Atalanta players and fans went absolutely bonkers on Tuesday when they beat Napoli to reach the Coppa semifinals. This is going to be one hell of a two-legged tie between two very good teams. Then you throw in that Juventus’ best young prospects are on loan at Atalanta and there’s even more fun added to it. Good times.
- Win this weekend and go into the holiday break feeling good about things (and maybe even in first place if Hellas Verona can provide and semblance of help). I don’t think anybody wants to see Juve sitting on a crap result for the next two weeks.