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Juventus 1 - Torino 1: Initial reaction and random observations

That was not fun.

Juventus v Torino FC - Serie A Photo by Emmanuele Ciancaglini/Ciancaphoto Studio/Getty Images

Based on Derby della Moles of the past, you wouldn’t have been wrong in thinking that some sort of late-game moment was on deck no matter how poor Juventus was looking. They’ve done it plenty of times before, and this was the kind of game Friday night in which snatching three points at the death would have been totally acceptable considering the context.

That, however, didn’t happen.

Instead of a late-game goal we got some very bad late-game crosses from Juan Cuadrado. Instead of a late-game goal we got almost chances that didn’t actually result in a shot on goal rather than actually giving Torino goalkeeper Vanja Milinković-Savić something to truly worry about.

For the second game in a row, Juventus ended up dropping points in a game that was very much there for the taking. The result, another 1-1 draw just like we saw over the weekend against Atalanta in Bergamo, came in a different kind of fashion, with Juventus unable to hold onto its slim 1-0 lead in the second half, allowing an unmarked Andrea Belotti to score the game-tying goal and not enough offense being created to pull back ahead. It was not a good team performance by any means, and Juventus’ shortcomings combined with a sudden swath of injuries made for a rough watch for those of us who wanted to see the Bianconeri continue their derby dominance.

Sure, Juve’s unbeaten run both in Serie A and over Torino continued Friday night, but that shouldn’t be what the main takeaway should be coming out of this.

The Derby della Mole is always going to be a hard-fought affair. And, as he was want to do during his time at Hellas Verona, Torino manager Ivan Juric is very much a fan of turning these kinds of games ugly. Torino pressed high, never let Juve get into any kind of rhythm outside of a 15-minute stretch in the middle of the first half when Matthijs de Ligt put his team ahead with a thundering header over a pair of Torino defenders (and Dusan Vlahovic).

But outside of that, this was not a very good night for Juventus. That had some to do with Torino’s ability to nullifying pretty much everything Juve tried to do through Vlahovic, but it also had to do with the fact that a makeshift lineup — especially after Paulo Dybala went off early in the second half — just couldn’t do much of anything to get a second goal. That has been the problem for a lot of Juve’s 2021-22 season even when the squad is fully healthy, but it was expected to be not as much of an issue with Vlahovic now in town.

Well ...

As Vlahovic was being completely neutralized by Bremer all game long, Juve’s biggest threat was consistently taken out of the equation. So much of the good that Juve’s done of late has come through Vlahovic, which meant there needed to be an alternative source of danger in attack.

That never truly materialized, and there you have a team that was trying to rally again for a late-game goal just like they did over the weekend.

But, unlike in Bergamo, that late-game goal never happened.

Instead, we got crappy Cuadrado crosses when a goal was needed. That’s not good.

RANDOM THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS

  • I blame Hernanes stopping by training earlier in the week for all of this.
  • Alex Sandro. Game-changing defensive error. Collision course. The more things change, the more Sandro continues to struggle. (Yeah, sure, he was playing as a central defender and he rarely does that, but when you bite that bad on something and leave Torino’s best threat in the penalty area wide open, what do you expect is going to happen?)
  • You see, the problem with only having two healthy central defenders available to you is that if one gets hurt in warmups like Daniele Rugani did then you’re scrambling to make your makeshift backline even more makeshift than it already is.
  • Like, I don’t know why Max Allegri didn’t call up somebody from the Under-23 side just to be safe. That seems like the simple idea, right?
  • You know what then makes the matter worse? When the guy who replaced the injured guy who replaced the injured guy actually gets injured and has to be subbed off at halftime. Yeah, that’s less than ideal.
  • The good thing is that Matthijs de Ligt played like an absolute wall once again in a game in which he was the clear-cut leader of the defense with all of the other things happening around him. Tackles, clearances, interceptions — whatever it was, de Ligt did it. (On top of scoring a goal, of course.)
  • Well, at least we didn’t have the Ex Effect with Marko Pjaca scoring the game-winning goal come into play, so there’s that.
  • We almost had the Ex Effect with Rolando Mandragora scoring with the sweet shot on the outside of his boot happening, which would have not been as great.
  • Arthur had a team-leading FIVE tackles against Torino. This is a big deal because he came on in the 73rd minute.
  • Denis Zakaria covers so much ground it’s wild.
  • What do we have to do to get a Zakaria-Arthur-Locatelli midfield from the start? Should we start passing around a hat for donations? Something, anything.
  • Prayer circle for Dybala and the fact that he was subbed off early enough after requesting to come off that his injury isn’t all that serious at all.
  • Still, these Dybala muscle injuries just have the worst timing possible.
  • Dusan Vlahovic finished with one shot in this game and I don’t really remember it happening. That’s how quiet of a night he had. (Thanks, Bremer.)
  • I will also request that Juventus sign one Bremer this summer because damn is he good.
  • Can i just state for the record that Juve’s passing to open this game was completely awful and I hated every bit of it? You wanna know at least one thing that contributed to Torino starting the game so well? It’s the fact that Juventus players couldn’t string three or four passes together to save their lives. It was really bad. Really, really bad.
  • So Atalanta wins this weekend and they’re even with Juventus for fourth place and still with a game in hand. That just makes things a little more interesting than they already are, so that’s great.