The mini-ritiro of Chiusa Pesio is finally over, concluding Sunday afternoon with 2×30′ encounter between Conte’s Prima Squadra (the Senior team) and Marco’s Baroni’s Primavera. Conte had to do without many players away on international duty and was even forced to tweak his formation a little, but the Seniors nevertheless prevailed over the youngsters, a full-time score of 2-0 courtesy of goals by Alessandro Del Piero and Mirko Vucinic.
The two players were the highlight of the 60-minute encounter, often combining for some very good plays and providing each other’s assists. Far from being outdone, Baroni’s Primavera gave their Seniors a very good run for their money, keeping the score blank for an entire half and getting many decent shots in of their own. Despite the many star-player absences, both squads gave good show to the many fans in the stands, who had come to say goodbye to their Black & White heroes.
With Buffon, Bonucci, Chiellini, Sorensen, Marchisio, Pirlo, Marrone, Krasic, Lichtsteiner, and Ziegler all away with their respective national teams, Conte had limited troops at his disposal and so fielded a bastardized 4-3-3 formation for his Prima Squadra: Storari between the sticks, Motta-Grygera-Barzagli-De Ceglie in defense, Ruggiero, Giandonato and Pasquato in midfield, Vucinic, Matri and Del Piero to provide the attacking power.
On the other end Primavera coach Baroni also had to do without his usual starting eleven, his team even “borrowing” exes Ekdal, Castiglia and Essabr. Out came a 4-1-4-1 system with Kirev between the sticks, Carfora, Di Dio, Spaniard Pol Garcia and Livero in defense. Brazilian hot prospect Gabriel Appelt (high expectations on this one) was placed DM right in front of the D-line, completing the midfield group with Margiotta, Ekdal, Castiglia and Essabr. Libertazzi was the lone striker.
The youngsters, already in training for over a month and quite comfortable with the Chiusa Pesio surroundings, immediately set the tempo. Castiglia, shortly followed by teammates Carfora and Margiotta, warmed up Storari from long-range. Then as time progressed, the higher caliber of the Prima Squadra manifested itself and Kirev had to start earning his payday: Ruggiero, Matri and Vucinic kept the Bulgarian goalkeeper attentive. Speaking of Mirko, the Montenegrin forward was one of the most cheered players today, trying to repay his new fans’ affection with another goal (following the one he scored vs. Cuneo) but seeing his two efforts (long-distance blast and header attempt) wide of the mark.
The first half ended on a score of 0-0, but not before Alberto Libertazzi stung another shot off Marco Storari’s gloves.
In the 2nd period, Conte’s only change was to replace Storari with Manninger. Baroni instead went for the full shebang: Branescu in net, Napoli and Rubin as central defenders, with Carfora resuming his post on the right and Garcia moved to the left. In midfield, the Appelt brothers passed each other the stick (Guilherme replacing Gabriel), while Lanini was fielded instead of Margiotta. Essabr, Castiglia, Ekdal and Libertazzi remained on the field.
Rain soon made an appearance at Chiusa Pesio, soon to be followed by a light hail that would make playing conditions rather difficult. Not quite enough to prevent Vucinic from wreaking havoc in the box again, obtaining a foul and a penalty that Alessandro Del Piero converted with his usual nerves of steel. 1-0 Juventus.
The Primavera changed brought on more subs: Corticchia on for Castiglia, Beltrame (freshly recruited from Novara) for Essabr, followed later by Simunac and Schiavone for Libertazzi and Ekdal.
8 minutes from time was the “Mirko Vucinic moment” of the day: the ex-Roma forward exchanged passes with Del Piero before brilliantly lifting the ball over Branescu with a chipped shot, capping the second and final goal of the game. 2-0 Juventus. At this point the rain really started to hit, so everyone just lifted a foot off the gas pedal to prevent silly and unnecessary injuries.
Final score 2-0, with Juve’s Senior Team saying goodbye to Valle Pesio in the best possible way, and giving us quite a tasty appetizer before their traditional ‘Family’ encounter at Villar Perosa Thursday..
As for the Primavera, they will resume their training camp in this area (along with all of Juve’s Settore Giovanile) starting Monday.