It went just as Max Allegri drew it up Thursday night.
Spot ‘em one and then play ball.
... OK, so maybe that’s not how Max Allegri drew it up, but when you find yourself down 1-0 after all of 60 seconds in the kind of stunning fashion that Juventus did against Salernitana, there’s really only one option you have from the second minute on: bounce back.
Oh boy, did Juve bounce back.
In one of the more lopsided final scores we’ve seen from Juventus dating back to Allegri’s first stint as manager in Turin, the Bianconeri got themselves back up off the mat after Federico Gatti’s massive error on one of the first passes of the night and recorded a dominant 6-1 win over Salernitana to advance to the Coppa Italia quarterfinals. It was, frankly, something we’ve seen few times these last few years — you know, the kind of refreshing performance in which grinding out a result and digging deep to defending a one-goal lead wasn’t necessary for the entirety of the second half.
And those last two goals from Kenan Yildiz and Timothy Weah?
Ahhhhhh, the cherry on top of a fun game to watch. Or a fun game to watch once Fabio Miretti tied the game 10 minutes after Gatti gifted Salernitana the lead with whatever the heck he was thinking right outside of his own penalty area.
Yeah, all of this came after Juventus was down a goal after a minute. And not just down a goal, but down a goal to a Salernitana team that is not very good — at all. A Salernitana team, I remind you, has two wins in Serie A to their name and couldn’t say that until last week and has the worst defense in the league with room to spare.
Once the ball started rolling, it was pretty clear that Juventus were going to be on the front foot. Then they got on said front foot, and the snowball started rolling. Getting the lead shortly after Miretti’s goal, courtesy of the guy who assisted Juve’s opener in the form of Andrea Cambiaso, was crucial because then they could truly start in their quest to leave doubt in terms of a final score.
And that’s what they did. They won by not one, not two, not three, not four ...
In terms of an old-school wrestling term, this wasn’t a “squash” since it didn’t happen right after the opening bell, but this had me thinking back to Juve’s Serie A matchup a little over nine years ago against Parma when Carlos Tevez was running wild on a defense that had no idea what to do. Juve scored seven goals that night in the kind of ass kicking that we don’t see much no matter what kind of tactics Allegri puts forward.
But when you look at it, the statistics from this one are just as one-sided as the final score:
- Shots: Juventus 22, Salernitana 2
- Shots on goal: Juventus 12, Salernitana 2
- Shots inside the box: Juventus 14, Salernitana 1
- Possession: Juventus 57%, Salernitana 43%
That, my friends, is simple domination. It’s something we rarely see from Juventus. It’s the combination of Juve playing damn well (after the first minute) and Salernitana being a total mess of a team. It was the perfect storm once the opening-minute mistake took place, and it involved Salernitana recording all of one shot after they scored. We don’t see Juve have these kinds of offensive nights much during Allegri 2.0, so it makes it even that much more of a good time when you consider just a few days ago they were beating Roma by, you guessed it, just a single goal.
All of it Thursday night came after they allowed a goal in the first minute in the game.
Just the kind stuff that makes you shake your head.
Some things this season truly don’t make sense. I think Juve basically handing Salernitana a 1-0 lead and then going on to score six unanswered to record their highest single-game goal total in years is worth of that kind of shake-your-head reaction. Not in a bad way after it very much was in a bad way as you watched what happened because of Gatti’s backpass.
Let’s just hope they’ve still got a goal or two left in them when they face Salernitana again in three days. That would make for a pretty good week.
RANDOM THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS
- It’s a shame that this game started in the fashion that it did because Max was looking very nice in that turtleneck of his. Very stylish, Mister.
- Pippo Inzaghi’s hair, even as he gets older, is still bangin’, man. That is never gonna change.
- Two assists for Danilo! Two!
- Mattia Perin made one save within the first 10 minutes of the game and then had NOTHING to do. Too bad he didn’t get a shutout because that’s the kind of Gigi Buffon era stuff that we used to see all the time.
- Kenan Yildiz.
- What? You want me to say more?
- OK, here’s more: Kenan Yildiz is good and he is forcing the issue when it comes to play time. Sure, he came on when the game was pretty much in hand and the opponent with the worst defense in the league was already defeated, but this dude just wants to take defender’s souls — and he’s doing it.
- Speaking of somebody who has gotten a chance to play more and more in the last month or two and absolutely ran with it? That would be Andrea Cambiaso, who is now getting into “he’s gotta start no matter what” territory. It wasn’t just the goal and assist in this game, but it’s the growing body of work and what he brings to either wing he’s playing on. Cambiaso showed potential during his loan spell at Bologna last season. Now we’re seeing it in Turin.
- Fabio Miretti needed a game like that. Not only had he not been playing much lately, but he also just hadn’t been playing all that well when he did step onto the field. That changed against a Salernitana side that was reportedly very interested in signing him on loan this past summer. Bet you wish they had him on this night. Or just about any other league game this season.
- Daniele Rugani’s celebration on his goal was peak Daniele Rugani and it made me laugh.
- Joseph Nonge!
- I wonder what Salernitana’s players were thinking when it’s already 3-1 and Allegri brings on Weah and Yildiz. “SERIOUSLY?” in their native language(s) had to be muttered by at least a few guys.
- ... and then Dusan Vlahovic came on less than 10 minutes later. Poor Pippo.
- That was Weah’s first goal in a Juventus shirt, by the way. That’s gotta be one of the best first goals with Juventus that we’ve seen in recent years, right? It has to be.
- Federico Chiesa was an absolute madman against Salernitana. Throw out all the caveats that you want about it being Salernitana, but that was the kind of Chiesa game that he really did need. He did just about everything right outside of scoring a goal. Dude had SIX key passes and 52 touches despite playing just 65 minutes. That’s impressive as hell.
- Manuel Locatelli touched the ball 102 times. ONE-HUNDRED AND TWO TIMES!
- Locatelli also had four interceptions and five tackles. Fill up that stat sheet and inject it into my veins, man. That’s beautiful.
- Arek Milik was another one of those guys like Chiesa who didn’t score but had a great game. With Chiesa doing his usual drifting out wide thing, Milik really held down the center of the attacking line well. Just an overall really good performance.
- This was the chance for Samuel Iling-Junior to impress and he didn’t exactly do that.
- Juventus’ streak of making the Coppa Italia quarterfinals has now reached 16 straight years. Should we throw it a Sweet 16 party? Maybe we can get a new Jeep or two because of it. I hear the new Jeep electric vehicles are quite nice.
- Oh, and we get a second straight Thursday night with the Coppa Italia. Juventus hosts Frosinone and all of our friends there in the Coppa quarterfinals next week. Should be a good one.
- In conclusion, Juventus scored six goals. In one game. That was fun. Even scoring half that amount in a couple of days should result in even more fun. Let’s do it!