I have the most unutterable, terrible confession that I must tell you — only you! — for if I were to open my “Landmark of Turin Awards” with such a dark secret, then the lads would have a field day with me, and perhaps Danny would forever suspend me, and I would be cast into the netherworld of fake fans who merely support a team during the good times. A “bandwagoner,” as it were. I must never allow this information to leave the secure confines of this personal, private space.
Which brings me to the confession, diary: When Juventus went down 2-1 to Inter Milan, the black and white playing with 11 men to Inter’s 10, I ... I skipped ahead, diary, only to see the score at the end of the game — for I was watching a recorded version of the game due to my earlier engagements.
The horror! The horror!
The shame I feel is as strong as the first love, that fairytale summer so long ago ... my whole being filled with such vivacious emotion! — only, of course, this is the opposite end, of utter desolation. I must never allow the hounds of BWRAO to discover this terrible moment, for what little reputation I had garnered among the lads — mainly as a supporter of Stefano Sturaro — would surely perish a demise even more shameful than Inter’s pathetic end.
Perhaps tomorrow I will not be the scum of the earth.
A tantalizing collection of titillating tidbits.
- OK, in my defense, my wife and I had gone to the Austin Food + Wine Festival all day, and it was relatively hot (sunny, no clouds, sort of humid I think, in the high 80s) and we were walking around and drinking a bunch of wine — and mezcal, duh — at tents, and there was cheese involved, and pork belly, and all sorts of little yummy bites and tents and stuff . . . it was amazing. But despite the ludicrous amount of water that I drank, when my wife and I got home (after walking two and a half miles home after the event because we just didn’t feel like taking a rideshare) and showered and sat down to watch the game, I suddenly felt terrible.
- All of which is to say, when Juventus went down 2-1 I was just, like, what the hell I can’t deal with this, I’m laconic and languid on the couch just drying not to vomit and I don’t really feel like watching 11-man Juve lose like a bunch of dimwits to 10-man Inter and piss the whole season away (would’ve been the perfect trifecta of pissed-away games after Madrid and Napoli), so I fast-forwarded a bit. I’m sorry!
- Juan Cuadrado’s goal is the epitome of the saying “don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.” We’ll take it! Get’er in the stable!
- Miralem Pjanic: Once again didn’t really do anything. Or am I wrong? It feels like there’s nothing going through the middle. Nothing going over the top. Watching Pjanic, it seems like Juve’s only movement is on the flanks, and the Bosnian either goes back to the center backs or skips and goes to a fullback, who then does all the work of going up the pitch. As people noted in this game especially, there’s not a lot of creativity going on (minus Douglas Costa), but as I said last time it’s increasingly difficult for me to distinguish between individual performances and abilities and Max Allegri’s tactics. What do I know?!
- Inter’s red card: Seemed like the right call, still lucky for us.
- On red cards: How did Pjanic not get a red card? Gift horse No. 2.
- Douglas Costa was very good again. He is a very good goal maker. Hell of a hit. The dude should pretty much be playing all the time if he’s alive.
- LOL we won. Let’s go Fiorentina. Federico Chiesa for the win.
Onto the awards:
Giuseppe Garibaldi Award
For the man of the match.
At right back, Cuadrado wasn’t perfect — like Inter’s last chance, when Perisic (I believe) was completely (WTF how!?) unmarked before botching a header.
But consider all of these things:
- Cuadrado was playing a position he basically hasn’t played all year, and outside of two to three gaffe-ish sort of things, he was pretty good defensively. That’s really impressive to me! More of Cuadrado at right back, please, especially in these games that we absolutely need to win. (Slash, also, why the hell did Stephan Lichtsteiner just learn to cross? This is the ultimate delayed reaction.)
- The offensive speed and pressure et al. that he added on the right flank was immense, and how badass was it to watch he and Douglas Costa roam like cheetahs on the right side of the pitch? It was amazing!
- The ball that assisted Costa’s goal was very good. Assists are for winners. (Costa would know.)
Parco Valentino Award
For an urbane demeanor distributed amongst the squad.
Don’t call it a comeback, but Alex Sandro was really freaking good in the Derby d’Italia — was it his best game of the season? I can’t think of another. But what I can do is remember three or four times when a player either in the box or across the field wildly gesticulated when the Brazilian had the ball, asking for service, and the left back suddenly donned Pogba-esque distribution skills and launched a perfect metor strike.
He was solid defensively as well. But as we head into the transfer window relatively soon — either with a seventh-straight league title but wanting to increase competitiveness in Europe, or else sorely pissed off after ceding late in the game to Napoli — Alex Sandro’s good form (I’m straight up just predicting it continues) is good news either way. If he really does want out of Turin, maybe the good form inches his price up 10-15 million, and we’ve suddenly got three years of Emre Can’s salary. If he stays, then we’ve got a damn good left back. Woot.
Ivrea Orange Festival Award
For the player who takes something crappy and makes it beautiful.
For the past few weeks, Juventus, of course, have been known much more for losing concentration in the waning moments of the game — er, maybe it was just Medhi Benatia, though? — rather than possessing it, but on Saturday night, Gonzalo Higuain, of all people, was the man who held his concentration until the end and won Juventus the game.
This award is for the player who took something crappy and made it beautiful, and in Pipita’s case the crappy part was his own doing, as he missed a pretty damn wide-open chance earlier in the game that would’ve pust Juve ahead. Sure, the angle was kind of tough. But Higuain makes 5.5 million money units a year, so I feel like he should be able to convert on something like that.
Then, moments after Cuadrado’s “well OK sure we’ll take it goal,” the Argentine made a perfect run after perfect service from his Argentine buddy — kudos as well to Paulo Dybala for entering after being benched and making a difference — and converted.
Fino alla fine, indeed.