Controversial win for the Comeback Kings

Posted by Mina Rzouki

Fabio Quagliarella celebrates after scoring Juventus' leveller at Chievo.GettyImagesFabio Quagliarella celebrates after scoring Juventus' leveller at Chievo.

Already defined as the comeback kings this season, Juve simply aren’t Juve unless they have conceded first. Inter, Copenhagen, Hellas Verona and now Chievo Verona -- all four of the Old Lady’s recent opponents scored the first goal. Thankfully, for the second time in four days against a Veronese side, Antonio Conte's men managed to collect maximum points in a 2-1 win over Chievo Wednesday to keep their place in the Serie A table.

Much like Hellas Verona did Sunday, Chievo opted to change their formation to counteract Juve's strength in the middle. A side that has played a 4-4-2 in all their previous Serie A clashes this season, tonight they opted to bolster the defence by playing a dull 5-3-2. The result? As boring as one would expect.

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Giuseppe Sannino's men played deep with practically all their players behind the ball and congested the area so the Bianconeri could not weave their way through the middle. This not only stopped the forwards connecting, but it halted the midfielders from making timely runs into the box. The were simply no spaces between the lines, and the likes of Andrea Pirlo were marked closely to cut Juve's creativity at the source.

The only space available to Conte’s men was in the wide areas. Unfortunately, there was little they could do with that option as most passes delivered into the box were poor, with very few reaching the intended recipient. Moreover, the Old Lady played without pace, allowing the Flying Donkeys all the time in the world to take up their positions and defend staunchly.

Fernando Llorente was especially frustrated and did everything he could to impress his coach. He hustled, fouled, fell in the box but most importantly he fought, even if his efforts seemed a tad dramatic at times.

As seems to happen with the Old Lady these days, they conceded from Chievo’s first venture into the opposite side of the pitch. Gianluigi Buffon, apparently capable of an odd moment of ineptitude, cleared poorly and gifted the opponents an attacking opportunity, which led to a Cyril Thereau goal. One shot, one goal -- the story of Juve's opponents so far this season.

Hyperbolic statements aside, Juventus had to work hard for the victory. The second half saw a much more courageous Old Lady, who hastened her tempo and threw men forward to encourage an equaliser at the very least. Less than two minutes into the second half and their prayers were answered as Fabio Quagliarella grabbed the leveler.

Whilst the change in tempo inspired a positive turn, what truly made the difference were Paul Pogba’s accurate deliveries into the box from the wide areas that he roamed into more and more. The youngster succeeded where the likes of Federico Peluso and Mauricio Isla failed. Pinpoint deliveries into the middle not only resulted in Quagliarella’s equaliser but in the own goal that won Juve the game.

Sadly for Sannino’s men, Alberto Paloschi’s goal was wrongly ruled offside. Buffon had committed yet another monumental error and Paloschi exploited the opportunity to score from the rebound. The referee gave the goal but the linesman, according to Sannino, waved his flag and forced the ref to cancel it, as he duly did.

The home side were understandably furious and they soon descended into aggressive play before they calmed their ways.

Controversy is the media’s bread and butter and this incident will be discussed at great lengths with the likes of Calciomercato immediately publishing an online report with the headline surrounding the ‘Mystery of the cancelled goal’.

Juventus, for their courage and the manner in which they controlled the ball when in the lead, deserved the win. They sped up the tempo and left themselves vulnerable when chasing the lead. When it was attained, they held on to the result with relative ease as they fought to secure the defence and maintain possession. Their maturity proved to be the difference in the end.

Now if they could only learn how not to concede first . . . .


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