The moment when second-late substitute Kenan Yildiz saw his glorious scoring opportunity go flying over the crossbar and he subsequently dropped to his knees in agony, what went through your head? Was it that sinking feeling that this was proving to be one of those nights where Juventus deserved to win but had about the opposite amount of luck that they had at the San Siro six days earlier?
It’s OK to be honest. You’re not alone here, people. I was thinking it. I couldn’t help but think it after seeing two would-be Moise Kean goals get waved off by VAR and Juve’s shot count fly past 20 ... 22 ... 25 ... and close in on 30 without anything to actually show for it on the scoreboard.
But that 30th and final shot of the night deeeeeeeeeeep into stoppage time, in a complete mess inside of the Hellas Verona 6-yard box, was the one that decided it.
For the second straight weekend coming out of the October international break, Juventus recorded a 1-0 win. This one, though, came in a completely different kind of manner as the trip to San Siro was, as Andrea Cambiaso’s 97th-minute (!!) goal with bodies scattered throughout the penalty area gave Juve another slim win but a vastly important one that sends Max Allegri’s squad top of the table, even if it’s just for 24 hours or so.
A hectic night that involved more frustration with VAR and a whole lot of moments to forget in front of goal ended with a player who wasn’t even on the roster the last time Juve played Hellas Verona scoring his first-ever goal in Juve colors in one hell of a fashion.
Ah, this team.
This stupid, stupid and completely flawed team.
They’re in first place. I don’t care if it’s maybe just for 24 hours — they’re in first place.
The thing is, though, this had all of the makings of dropped points just mere seconds before Cambiaso scored the game-winning goal. Go down the checklist and you probably hit every single “frustrating-as-hell game” talking point. Top of the list had to be the VAR calls, which cost Moise Kean his first two goals of the season even though neither of the calls made sense when you consider how they came about. (And then you look at how Davide Faraoni acted after being “fouled” by Kean in the build-up to the second goal that was called off and you just know how much of a horrible call it was after the fact.)
For everything that Juventus created — and, when you finish with 30 shots attempted, that’s certainly a lot — there’s simply no reason as to why it took until basically the final moments of stoppage time to win this. Then again, that sometimes happens — especially with this team because even on days in which they take a ton of shots, they don’t really prove to be the most clinical of teams. Proof for it is as follows:
- 30 shots attempted
- Six shots on target
- One goal scored
- 3.40 xG
That’s not exactly the kind of showing in the final third in which you want to brag about. But sometimes when you have two goals called off by VAR that shouldn’t have been called off by VAR, then things are going to end up being rather interesting. And I think it’s safe to say that this team — yes, the same one I called stupid (in a lovingly way!) a couple of paragraphs ago — certainly made things interesting and probably a little harder on themselves than it should have been against a Hellas Verona side that has all of two points to their record over the course of the last two months.
I’m just happy this turned out to be a win and not something in which Hellas came in, took points off Juventus and we’re left to sit on a completely crappy result for the next week before the trip to Florence. Now we get to sit back on a Sunday and see if Juve will end the weekend at the top of the table or simply just keep pace with the two Milan clubs.
Could be worse, I guess. Especially when you actually get a goal to count. (Thanks, VAR.)
RANDOM THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS
- I got a text from an unnamed Juventus friend in the fifth minute of second-half stoppage time about how Andrea Cambiaso hadn’t done much since coming on. Less than two minutes later, Cambiaso scored the game-winning goal. Reverse jinx, baby!
- The fact that the back half of Moise Kean’s heel was “offside” and that they ruled that he gained an advantage because of it just shows you how it was technically the right call by the letter of the law but it’s another instance that there’s so much need for a little wiggle room from referees and VAR. Did Kean score the goal because he heel was literally centimeters ahead of the defender? No, he scored because it was a great individual effort after he got the ball under control.
- Kean’s wonderful individual effort on the goal that was called back — and was technically set to be given to Dusan Vlahovic after the smallest of deflections — meant that the post-goal dancing from Kean, Weston McKennie and Timothy Weah went for naught and that makes me sad.
- The call for the foul before the second goal might have been just as perplexing. There’s nothing in that. And as we saw from the collection of replays as the second half went on, Faraoni completely flopped his way to getting a goal called off. Serie A refereeing at its finest, my friends.
- That referee, by the way, was a complete joke. But then again, this is Italy, so it’s pretty much par for the course unfortunately.
- Juventus had 65% possession through the first 20 minutes and I wasn’t sure what I was watching for a second.
- Right as I was about to type “Wojciech Szczesny barely had anything to do in the first half” Hellas Verona ensures that statement was no longer true. Thankfully, Tek made a great save at the near post and kept the game scoreless heading into the halftime break.
- Vlahovic touched the ball 15 times in the first half.
- Szczesny touched the ball 13 times in the first half.
- I still am trying to figure out if Adrien Rabiot had a good game. That just shows kinda how Rabiot’s season has been so far — counting stats and stat formulas say “good game” while my head says “Yeahhhhh I dunno.”
- Regardless of that, Juventus are still unbeaten and haven’t dropped points in which Rabiot wears the captain’s armband.
- Filip Kostic had a few crosses in there that could very well have been assists if their intended target had a little bit better finishing, but you just feel like something is still lacking in his game.
- It sounded like Daniele Rugani gritted his teeth through some sort of muscle injury before coming off for Yildiz late in the second half. Let’s hope it’s minor enough where he won’t miss any time because he’s playing pretty well since coming in for Danilo.
- Speaking of Rugani, I believe that’s now eight shutouts in the last nine games in which he has started. Not bad!
- Fabio Miretti’s feet were dancin’ out there Saturday night. Some of the decision making is still lacking, but this was the first time in a good amount of games in which I felt like Miretti was really trying to make things happen and then actually doing so.
- Charles Leclerc just got P1 in quali in Mexico as I was wrapping up this post. Good day for the big assets in the Exor/Agnelli collection.
- Also P1: Juventus. How ‘bout that?!