Villar Perosa always holds a special kind of charm for Bianconeri fans, as every summer Juventini from all across Italy gather in Val Chisone to enjoy the traditional “family match” between the Juventus “A” and Juventus “B” teams.
No year like before did attendance reach such peaks however: completely sold-out rafters… fans stacked on top of each other on the side of the pitch… a few even climbing on the roofs of houses nearby, trying to get a glimpse of Conte, Buffon, and all their Bianconeri heroes. In sum, at least 5,000 Black & White-colored tifosi gathered to cheer the team’s arrival, admiratively gazing upon John Elkann and Andrea Agnelli as they made their entrance with the Supercoppa and Scudetto trophies. Not forgetting of course, alongside them, the main protagonist of these successes: Antonio Conte.
The crowd’s enthusiasm reached its apogee with the squad’s lap of honor, lead by Gigi Buffon & Giorgio Chiellini, as the entire Juventus roster rounded the field holding the trophies, and basked in the warmth of the crowd more than that of the summer sun.
★ ★ ★
Over to the action. With just one further test (Sunday’s Trofeo Berlusconi) remaining before next weekend’s big Serie A kick off, Conte and Carrera opted to test out youngster Daniele Rugani at the heart of the three-man backline, while Paul Pogba made his first start for the Senior team since completing a free transfer switch from Manchester United.
And the French youngster seized his opportunity to stake a claim for a first-team place with both hands, providing a steady and cultured presence in midfield from the starting whistle. The crowd were on their feet when he lofted a delightful pass into the path of Giaccherini, but Laurentiu Branescu (who had already put on a great display in last year’s fixture) did well to anticipate the danger and dive bravely at the winger’s feet. The Romanian prospect was soon made to work for the second time, sprawling to his left-hand side to ensure Pogba’s curling free-kick drifted harmlessly out of play.
Yet there was nothing the goalkeeper could do about Juventus A’s opener in the 25th minute. After winning a free-kick on the edge of the area, Fabio Quagliarella stepped up to drill a low strike home to perfection. 1-0. Juve B had the opportunity to restore parity just a minute later, but saw Alcibiade’s effort cannon back off the woodwork. After 45 minutes of play, the youngsters had — for the most part — weathered the “Senior” storm.
Primavera coach Marco Baroni made widespread changes at the break, changing eight of the eleven who started the encounter, and almost saw his youngsters on level terms when Magnússon’s whipped free-kick flashed just wide of the upright.
Back came Juve A, bolstered by the half-time introductions of Storari, Gouano and Pol Garcia in place of Buffon, Lúcio, and Bonucci. Alessandro Matri was sent through on goal by Pazienza’s defence splitting pass, but the striker was left to rue a decent opportunity to double the lead after sending his strike straight into the arms of Branescu. The Milan-born frontman, however, made no mistake on 56 minutes, steering a left-footed shot under Branescu after being played in by Pogba’s intelligent pass. 2-0 Juventus A.
A spell of increased pressure by Baroni’s youngsters was rewarded when Brazilian Leonardo Bonatini halved the deficit, following good work by Tavanti down the right flank. Moments later however, the Seniors restored their two-goal cushion when Emanuele Giaccherini collected the ball on the edge of the area, and caught Branescu unawares by crashing home an unstoppable 20-yard drive into the top corner! 3-1!
Three became four, and soon five, when in quick succession Sebastian Giovinco and Giuseppe Ruggiero capped off a prolific goalscoring day for the Senior “A” team. Joining Vidal, Marchisio, Ruggiero and Padovan in coming off the bench in the latter stages, Super-Seba created space for himself before bending in a low strike to the far post that gave Costantino (replacing Branescu between the sticks) no chance. Two minutes later Ruggiero, another Primavera prospect featuring for the Senior team in this match, joined the former Parma striker in making an instant impact, cutting in off the right-hand flank to seal a 5-1 victory with a precise finish.
★ ★ ★
It was the last goal preceding the traditional field invasion by fans, which actually forced the referee to end the match with a good 7 minutes of regular time left on the clock. Villar Perosa is, after all, the tifosi‘s party above all else, and seeing the champions of Italy just a few meters away from them they simply could not resist any longer!
|GOALSCORERS: 25′ Quagliarella (A), 56′ Matri (A), 62′ Bonatini (B), 64′ Giaccherini (A), 74′ Giovinco (A), 76′ Ruggiero (A)
| JUVENTUS A (3-5-2): Buffon (46′ Storari) – Lúcio (46′ Gouano), Bonucci (46′ P.Garcia), Rugani – Padoin (71′ Ruggiero), Pazienza, Pogba (71′ Vidal), Giaccherini (71′ Marchisio), De Ceglie (81′ F.Balbis) – Matri (71′ Giovinco), Quagliarella (71′ Padovan). COACH: Carrera. (UNUSED SUBSTITUTES: Chiellini)
(UNAVAILABLE due to injury: Pirlo, Isla)
(REMAINED IN TURIN: Iaquinta)
| JUVENTUS B (4-3-2-1):Branescu (75′ Costantino) – C.Garcia (Tavanti), Alcibiade (Magnússon), Gerbaudo (Penna), Mattelli (Laursen) – Baldis (46′ Kabashi), Gab.Appelt (46′ Lanini), Bianco (46′ Emmanuello) – Bouy (46′ Beltrame, 75′ Ceria), Bonatini (30′ Ilari’ 46′ Mattiello) – Beltrame (30′ Josipovic, 46′ Bonatini, 75′ Owusu). COACH: Baroni. (UNUSED SUBSTITUTES: Curti, Braccini)