Lazio demolished as Juventus win the Supercoppa

Posted by Mina Rzouki

Juve captain Gianluigi Buffon lifts the Supercoppa trophy.APJuve captain Gianluigi Buffon lifts the Supercoppa trophy.

"We aren't seen when they are friendlies in America or China. We make our mark when it counts," beamed Gianluigi Buffon in his post match comments. Juventus devoured Lazio during the Supercoppa in the Stadio Olimpico like a hungry wolf would devour its prey. Taking advantage of the Biancocelesti's lapses in concentration, the Old Lady imposed her style and superior strength to collect yet another trophy under Antonio Conte.

"SuperJuve" was the headline splashed on the front cover of both Gazzetta dello Sport and Corriere dello Sport. Juventus, who had the fans worried after dismal pre-season displays, returned to their savage ways as they demonstrated intensity, rather than indifference, to intimidate the opponents.

- Conte: Juve ready to defend title

Whilst the Bianconeri hardly delighted the crowd in the first half, exhibiting inaccuracies within their play, they still demonstrated the unity within the team as well as the semblance of a side not willing to surrender. Lacking in imagination, they remained solid, blocking all of Lazio's routes going forward before looking for their own chances.

It was the second half when it seemed the Aquile suffered their most troubling moments as they surrendered the pitch to the strength of a Juve side that looked unstoppable on the counter and eager to show off the technical qualities of their players. Unleashing their pace, Lazio were simply outmuscled and defensively overwhelmed by the Juve players, who continued to exploit the gaps in defence to raise their goal tally.

Lazio, it was thought, would put up more of a fight in this formidable challenge. Rather than demonstrate their strengths by exploiting the pace of their wing play, they instead revealed the defensive weaknesses through the centre of the pitch. The Old Lady marvelled at the amount of space offered to her through the middle, allowing the likes of Stephan Lichtsteiner, the man of the match, plenty of room to cut in and dribble to the top to strike.

Defensive strength was meant to be the main attraction of Vladimir Petkovic's side as his squad look to mount a challenge for a Champions League spot this upcoming season. Instead, we witnessed a team incapable of limiting the damage and remaining attentive to the exploitive nature of this Bianconeri beast. Carlos Tevez was unmarked for his goal, Lichtsteiner was hardly halted as he zoomed up and down the right flank with ease whilst their ineptitude in closing down space was almost painful to watch.

In essence, the 4-2-3-1 formation Petkovic relied upon only exposed the fragility within the side whilst the experiment of playing two directors in the middle, Cristian Ledesma and Lucas Biglia failed. As Lucas Biglia contended with suffocating Andrea Pirlo, Ledesma simply fell apart in the second half as the midfield failed to protect their back-line and pick up Juve's runners who darted through centrally.

The Biancocelesti's biggest flaw was the manner in which they isolated Miroslav Klose, a forward who's yet to score against the Bianconeri. With Hernanes altogether disappearing, there was no inspiration and no contributions on offer for the lonely forward, forced to battle against Juve's attentive back-line all by himself. Buffon who produced a perfect save halted the one moment of magic Miroslav Klose did manage, making it his eighth match against the Old Lady without a goal.

Meanwhile Conte's tried and tested 3-5-2 formation worked like a treat, albeit with a little help from their distracted opponents. With Arturo Vidal on hand to demonstrate his energy as he ran, won back possession and progressed forward, Juve's indomitable warriors and technical play proved too much for Lazio.

Conte believed in the win and insisted he trusted the 'men' of his side, aware their maturity would ensure a win and he was right. Juve, one must confess, looked a little out of sorts in pre-season but like Buffon insisted, when it counts, the Bianconeri produce.


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