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VIAREGGIO 2012 TRIUMPH!! Juventus Primavera Grab Historic 8th!!

After an impressive showing in the Group Stage – as detailed in last week’s column – Juventus continued their ‘Torneo di Viareggio’ adventure in the knockout stages. With a game every other day this prestigious competition is not only a test of quality but also a great barometer of the depth of the squads on show. As ever, Adam Digby brings all the details from a wonderful and triumphant week for the Primavera.


 

During the Torneo di Viareggio‘s opening rounds, Primavera manager Marco Baroni was able to rotate his squad and that paid dividends as the tournament entered the latter stages, with the Bianconeri among the freshest teams on show. Able to pick his strongest team regularly – aside from the injury hitting Giuseppe Ruggiero – the coach was able to maintain some continuity in the knockout rounds where the competition became much more difficult.

Round of 16

First up were Vicenza, a team who provided what was easily the sternest test yet for a Juventus side who began the game somewhat tentatively, and fell behind to a penalty after a fair handball call. The reaction however spoke volumes for the spirit found within the team and they showed great resilience to fight back, eventually equalising through a great goal by Stefano Beltrame.

Despite pressing on for a winner, the Vicenza defence held on and sent the game to penalties where the Bianconeri’s mental strength would once again prove the difference, with all five players who stepped up – Padovan, Bouy, Libertazzi, Chibsah and Beltrame – able to score and Laurenţiu Brănescu making a brilliant save to see Juventus through.

[video_lightbox_youtube video_id=IQnSicdRG2Q width=640 height=360 anchor="{ Match Highlights }"]

Juventus F.C.
JUVENTUS-VICENZA
1-1 (6-4 P.S.O.)
37′ Beltrame
Vicenza Calcio

Brănescu
Untersee, Govanò (86′ Libertazzi), Rubin, Liviero
Chisbah, Gab.Appelt (58′ Bouy)
Spinazzola, Beltrame, De Silvestro (77′ Margiotta)
Padovan

(BENCH: Gagliardini, C.Garcia, Magnússon, Belfasti, Corticchia, Emmanuello)
 

Quarter-Finals

Clearly impressed by what he had seen against the Biancorossi, Baroni made just two changes for the next round against Club Guaraní, resting Gabriel Appelt (who had suffered a slight knock against Vicenza) in favour of Andrea Schiavone and opting for Alberto Libertazzi in place of Padovan. His choices were rewarded as the team put on one of their best displays of the season and beat the Paraguayan outfit 3-1, but not before once again falling behind.

Far more pro-active than the European sides they had faced so far, Guaraní took the lead and Juve had Brănescu to thank once again that it was only by a single goal, the Romanian keeper making a string of excellent stops throughout the first half. Stefano Beltrame snatched an equaliser to ensure the two teams went into the break on level terms and the second half belonged undoubtedly to the Bianconeri, with the midfield controlling the game and minimising the chances given to the opposition. Man-of-the-match Elio De Silvestro provided the winning goal, while Ouasim Bouy marked put the proverbial nail-in-the-coffin with yet another stunning strike from the distance.

The match ended on a bit of a tense affair, with Benitez of Guaraní and Padovan being sent off and the Paraguayan team lengthily complaining to the referee after the final whistle. Still, Juventus moved on to the semi-finals to face Parma.

[video_lightbox_youtube video_id=rdDc5pPh45M width=640 height=480 anchor="{ Match Highlights }"]

Juventus F.C.
JUVENTUS-CLUB GUARANÍ
3-1
29′ Gouano, 76′ De Silvestro, 89′ Bouy
Club Guaraní

Brănescu
Untersee, Gouano, Rubin, Liviero
De Silvestro, Schiavone (70′ Gab.Appelt), Chibsah
Spinazzola, Libertazzi (57′ Padovan), Beltrame

(BENCH: Gagliardini, C.Garcia, Magnússon, Belfasti, Bouy, Margiotta, Emmanuello)
 

Semi-Finals

Sadly for the Bianconeri, Parma‘s victory had come at the expense of Torino, eliminating the possibility of a derby encounter between the two teams (something which could have made for a spectacular contest here in Viareggio). Instead, Baroni’s lads would face the Ducali in what proved to be an odd encounter (very much unlike Juve’s 6-1 win the last time the two sides had met in the Campionato Primavera) and the return to fitness of Gabriel saw the manager again make just two changes, bringing in the Brazilian for Schiavone and the impressive Bouy being given a starting role in place of Beltrame.

The Bianconeri would again put on a dominant display, with Spinazzola creating chance after chance and continuing his hugely impressive tournament showing, but sadly Libertazzi was guilty of wasting far too many; at the end of the first half the Bianconeri’s record reflected a truckload of shots on target and a post (by De Silvestro), but no goals. At the other end Brănescu was again required to be at his best, partly due to Gianluca Rubin’s disappointing performance in central defence (he was allowing far too much time and space to Parma’s front men).

In the end a lone Leonardo Spinazzola header (diving in to tap in a Chibsah deflected shot) would prove to be enough, but in truth this was a game that should have been won much much earlier.

[video_lightbox_youtube video_id=QhofNGoQ-7A width=640 height=480 anchor="{ Match Highlights }"]

Juventus F.C.
JUVENTUS-PARMA
1-0
85′ Spinazzola
Parma F.C.

Brănescu
Untersee, Gouano, Rubin, Liviero
Chibsah, Gab.Appelt
De Silvestro (88′ Schiavone), Bouy (62′ Margiotta), Spinazzola
Libertazzi (68′ Beltrame)

(BENCH: Gagliardini, C.Garcia, Magnússon, Belfasti, Corticchia, Emmanuello)
 

FINAL

Into their 6th final in 10 years, Juve would face Roma, the one other club in Italy who have adopted a similar policy to that implemented by Beppe Marotta and Fabio Paratici, as the Giallorossi reshape the club’s Youth Sector. Cutting away the older players and bringing down the age of their squad, the Romans have also instilled a system echoing that used by Luis Enrique’s first team. Those factors, allied to the Capital sides wonderful history of producing quality young players meant the Viareggio Tournament would not only have a final befitting the competition, but also provide Juventus with their most difficult game of the season to date.

Yet the Bianconeri would jump out to a surprising 2-0 lead thanks to breakaway goals from Stefano Beltrame and Stefano Padovan, a start that stunned almost everyone watching. Sadly however, the occasion appeared to affect Baroni who, rather than continue with the pressing style he has implemented so well throughout the league campaign, instead eschewed those qualities and instructed his team to sit deep and protect their advantage.

After a spell in which they displayed what this team is capable off – almost extending the lead on a couple of occasions – the coach channeled his inner Gigi Delneri and the team almost stopped playing. As we have learnt already this season, inviting Roma to attack you is foolhardy in the extreme and it was no surprise to see them push forward with quality, Giammario Piscitella’s goal the least they deserved.

The distinct lack of ambition almost cost the team victory but they did indeed hold on – in spite of, rather than because of, the input of their coach – and lift the trophy for the 8th time, equaling the record held by Fiorentina and AC Milan. Leonardo Spinazzola was named the tournament’s ‘Golden Boy’, an award that was implemented in 2009 and won previously by Ciro Immobile and one richly deserved for the attacking midfielder, who had been at the heart of much of the team’s attacking play.

Over the coming months there may be more silverware headed to Turin at many different levels, yet this triumph will always hold a special place in the hearts of many, the first trophy of the Andrea Agnelli era and one the team most definitely deserved.

[video_lightbox_youtube video_id=9OoanZb-g3A width=640 height=480 anchor="{ Match Highlights }"]

A.S. Roma
ROMA-JUVENTUS
1-2
6′ Beltrame, 23′ Padovan
Juventus F.C.

Brănescu
Untersee, Gouano, Rubin, Belfasti
Gab.Appelt (60′ Schiavone), Chibsah
Spinazzola, Beltrame, De Silvestro (70′ Bouy)
Padovan (88′ C.Garcia)

(BENCH: Gagliardini, Magnússon, Liviero, Corticchia, Margiotta, Libertazzi)
 

Congratulazioni Ragazzi!!!

 

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