Juventus won the match and the city's bragging rights in a match that also displayed the success of the youth team. Andrea Pirlo squandered his chance to score from a penalty as if to please the Turin Gods who only allowed those born and bred in the city to grab the goals of the game.
- Marchisio inspires Juve to derby spoils
The Juventus choreography was breath-taking. It's been three years since these two sides faced one another whilst it's been 18 since Torino won the Derby della Mole. This was a fixture both teams had been waiting for and the atmosphere was laden with quiet animosity and passionate sensations.
With Juventus forced to play a 4-3-3 formation seemingly due to necessity rather than choice, the level of control that one expects with such a shape was not evident for much of the first half. In truth, even if the likes of Giorgio Chiellini had been available, the usual 3-5-2 shape may still have been abandoned so as to not suffer against Torino's morphed 4-2-4 during their attacking phase of the game.
But starting in their usual 4-4-2 shape, the away side did a spectacular job of securing territorial advantage and keeping hold of the ball, leaving Juve to chase for much of the first half. Showing all signs of being a Giampiero Ventura led team, they were perfectly organised, highly energetic and their movements well rehearsed - boasting 79% possession early on in the first half.
With Torino closing down the spaces and limiting Juve's creative players from inflicting their ingenuity, this looked to be another game of struggle for the Old Lady who no longer looked immortal and invincible. However, whilst the chemistry between the Granata players seemed evident, so too did the lack of experience, restricting them from exploiting the opportunities they created. Several Juventus mistakes went unpunished and the collective work of the Ventura led group somewhat hindered individual brilliance.
Then Kamil Glik was sent off and the competition between the two sides ended.
Up until that point, Juventus went unnoticed and looked weak in the face of their opponents' fierce motivation. With a glazed look in their eye and a lazy approach to the game, they willingly surrendered the fight for much of the beginning. That is until they boasted numerical superiority. With an extra player on the pitch, they quickly began to find space to navigate as their ball possession statistics consistently increased leaving Toro to chase them in vein.
Ceding control and space and it was now Juve who closed Torino down, blocked their attackers and kept control of the game. It was all done with a quiet authority and with the quality present on the pitch, it was only a matter of time before one of the Old Lady's boys would find a way through.
Claudio Marchisio's positioning in particular was interesting as he was not meant to be the star of the show. With Juve's wide players stretching the defence, it was Paul Pogba who was tasked with making well-timed runs to the top and through the middle. Marchisio played a more withdrawn role, not going forward but ensuring that if the ball was lost, he was on hand to recover by staying high up the pitch and closing down those with the ball.
Without Arturo Vidal and with a trident attack on the pitch, Marchisio's attacking talent had to be sacrificed to allow for defensive security. Playing a role similar to the one he played against Milan, he only managed to reprise his usual role once Torino had a man dismissed. Boasting a numerical advantage, the Turin born midfielder was consistently pushing forward and inserting himself into the team's attacking line and he subsequently scored a brace.
Incidentally, Pogba, who was asked to act as a fourth attacker, proved exciting when pushing forward. He was the man who won the penalty and he should have been the player to open Juve's goal-scoring account when Jean-Francois Gillet and Angelo Ogbonna collided to set the ball free for the Frenchman to score. Despite little mistakes here and there, the player's powerful shots from outside the box and his improved control of the ball demonstrated him to be an asset on the night.
Played in an elegant manner and without the intensity expected when facing a city rival, the Old Lady kept her cool and won her last Serie A match under Angelo Alessio's control thanks to her youth products. One is hoping she is preserving her fighting instincts for the Champions League match this Wednesday because without the intensity Juve are simply far too plain.