Juventus finally overcome defensive Pescara side

Posted by Mina Rzouki

A match between top and bottom, the only prediction one could possibly imagine was a convincing win for the Italian Champions. Yet, despite the 31 shots on goal, the Old Lady's squandering abilities combined with terrific saves from the goalkeeper allowed the game to remain goalless for 72 minutes. Were Juve going to manage? It took a penalty and a red card to break the deadlock and despite managing a second goal, the Bianconeri failed at keeping a clean sheet and finished the match with a 2-1 scoreline.

- Video: Juventus 2-1 Pescara (UK and Ireland only)

Pescara coach Cristian Bucchi insisted prior to the match that they were "going there [to Turin] to win, not to perform an exercise in damage limitation". Nothing could have been further from the truth. Whilst they may seek solace in the excuse that their squad is suffering from injuries, the rock-bottom side exhibited all the reasons why they find themselves at the foot of Serie A. Gaping holes separated the attack and defence and the Defini were both slow in their reactions and disinterested in the notion of fighting for the team. There was no genuine effort made by Bucchi's men to defend their honour against the Bianconeri.

Defensively deployed, Pescara were under instructions to remain tight and compact through the middle to force Juventus out wide. The Old Lady has never been too good when it comes to delivering accurate crosses into the box, hence limiting the gaps through the middle was the aim of the game. A good tactic had it worked. However, despite the many men at the back for Pescara, the home side were quickly able to stretch them, expose space and practice the one-twos they are so fond of playing. This had much to do with the beauty of Mirko Vucinic's play up top.

In the first half, the Montenegrin enjoyed pulling the strings, holding up play and delivering the accurate passes that exposed space. Playing a fine game, Pescara were unable to stop him from dictating play at the top allowing his side to create several goal-scoring opportunities.

Dominating possession and enjoying complete control of the game, Juventus played with a high line. If the ball was lost, the midfield worked quickly to tackle and intercept to win it back and push forward. Bucchi's men had no option but to defend and rely on long balls over the top to reach Ferdinando Sforzini. Whilst the striker did prove threatening when delivered the necessary pass to use his aerial ability, he was marginalised for much of the game.

The moment possession was won back, Juventus immediately dispatched long and vertical balls back to the top with both Stephan Lichtsteiner and Kwadwo Asamoah inflicting their dynamism on the wings. Whilst Juventus looked clearly in charge with each player demonstrating their quality, one player in particular stood out for his efforts.

He may have squandered a few opportunities or appeared delayed in his reactions but Emanuele Giaccherini's tactical play proved mesmerising on the day.

When out of possession, the player moved quickly to press the ball and perform the necessary tackles and interceptions to win possession back in advantageous positions. When in attacking mode, he adopted wide positions to facilitate his squad's vertical passes forward whilst his runs in the box dragged defenders away to permit Juve's attackers greater space to operate. Forcing Ivan Pelizzoli into some excellent saves himself, Giaccherini was unlucky to not score a goal for his beloved Old Lady.

By some miracle, the worst defence in Serie A was keeping the best attack from scoring, despite their many woeful lapses in concentration. Juventus, due to their own poor finishing ability, combined with supernatural performances by Pescara's goalkeeper Ivan Pelizzoli simply couldn't find a way of overcoming the visiting opponent.

After the break, the Delfini attempted to neutralise the threat of Vucinic more effectively, especially at the beginning. Whenever he had the ball, players rushed to surround him in hopes of preventing him from playing intricate balls to oncoming runners from midfield.

It took a well-worked set piece from Juventus to terrorise Pescara and especially Giuseppe Rizzo, who committed the error that resulted in a penalty for the home side. Vucinic converted to rapturous applause from the crowd. The player revelled in the attention, taking off his shorts and swinging them above his head in celebration.

Grabbing a second soon after, it looked like the end of the journey for 10-man Pescara until an ambitious shot from quite a distance saw Emmanuel Cascione grab one back for the away side.

The three points were finally achieved but it ought to have been much easier for Juve, who need to be as clinical as possible when taking on Bayern Munich on Wednesday night.

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