BLOG ITALIA
Wednesday November 21 2012
Qualification now black and white

Juventus hammered Chelsea 3-0 on Matchday 5 of the Champions League to leave qualification for the knock-out stage in their hands. Luca Cetta wraps up the action.

‘Unleash hell’ roared yesterday’s Tuttosport. Preparing for a must-win encounter, Juventus knew they had to spew Bianconeri venom at their English visitors. Starting behind joint Group E leaders Shakhtar Donetsk and Chelsea, it was imperative Juve took the initiative and more importantly, three points. The European champions stepped into a black and white cauldron and never truly looked comfortable.

The Turin giants welcomed back Andrea Pirlo, Stephan Lichtsteiner and Mirko Vucinic to the starting XI, giving it a typical look and feel. In stark contrast Roberto Di Matteo altered his shape, suggesting they wanted to keep it tight at the back and strike quickly at the other end. Oscar sat behind Eden Hazard and they, along with Juan Mata, were the creative outlets.

Fast starters, Juve had already netted six times inside the opening 15 minutes this term. Only the first and last 15 minutes of the second period had seen more goals scored – seven. One such swift strike arrived in their last European tie versus Nordsjaelland, allowing the pressure to ease and floodgates to open. Lichtsteiner almost played to the script but found Petr Cech unflappable at the near post. The Londoners own plan nearly came to fruition as Oscar slipped through to Hazard, who was denied by the legs of Gigi Buffon. The tone was set before the clock hit double digits.

Chelsea offered a threat when charging forward at pace but like the meeting at Stamford Bridge it was Antonio Conte’s men in control. And this is why Buffon believes Juve deservedly claimed the points.

“We won in every area tonight. We were hungrier, sharper, more attacking, more creative and with a little more precision could’ve scored even more.”

But as witnessed in the past – think back as recently as Saturday – a goalkeeper stood in the way of many Bianconeri attacking forays. They needed to make possession and territory count. Fabio Quagliarella obliged. He continued a rich scoring run by diverting Pirlo’s effort past a stranded Cech just before the break.

As frustrated as they were by Federico Marchetti’s miraculous stop from a near-identical effort on the weekend, this time fans leapt for joy and the stadium erupted. That eased concerns but when faced with three-on-three situations at the other end Juve looked vulnerable. Other than these few occasions, the defensive trio offered unwavering solidity.

Arturo Vidal has looked in imperious form of late and scored his third goal of the group stage on the hour mark. If Quagliarella purposely directed Pirlo’s shot, the touch off Ramires from the Chilean’s drive was very much inadvertent. The result was the same, with Cech bested and Juve taking a giant step toward qualification.

The Old Lady looked irrepressible at this point. Against a disheartened visitor it was almost inevitable that substitute Sebastian Giovinco would round out the scoring. What was bizarre was the sight of Cech, who had kept Chelsea in the contest, inexplicably charging out from goal. Welcome to hell lads.

Angelo Alessio felt Chelsea’s striker-less system – Fernando Torres was benched – aided his side. But he is also aware nothing has yet been assured. “We realise how important the final game will be and we’re not qualified yet. We must play the same way we did today.”

One downside was Claudio Marchisio’s yellow card which means he misses the Shakhtar contest. However, the equation is simple for Juventus. Avoid defeat in Ukraine and they qualify. A win sees them top the group, a draw ensures second spot. Should the latter result occur, they would surpass Chelsea – expected to beat Nordsjaelland – thanks to a superior head-to-head record.

The impressive Shakhtar have already qualified and a draw would suit, leaving them the group winners. This has opened chatter of settling for a ‘biscotto’, the type of result Italy feared at Euro 2012 going into their final group match. But Shakhtar will be eager to prolong their fine season to date in the best possible manner, so nothing can be taken for granted. Nonetheless, after a crushing victory the path ahead is now black and white for Juventus.

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Have your say...
lets not get carried away here juventus still have huge issues yet again the forwards give away possession so cheaply and make awful decisions, it was almost embarrassing at some points during the game at the shoot at any opportunity policy,but the main issue for me is this ,if you need more evidence that pirlo legs have gone look no further than last night.when chelsea broke last night he was left for dead and it was three against three the DM is supposed to screen and he hasn't got the legs.
on the 21st November, 2012 at 8:07pm
Juve played really well and represented Italy in style. I thought Vucnic didn't play well at all but overall a great preformance!
on the 21st November, 2012 at 6:49pm
Bravo Juve, calcio strikes back! Good to see a top class SerieA outfit silence the EPL fanboys! It'l take another great performance to beat Shalkha though. Now lets see the other five Italians get good results this week. FORZA INTER!!! FORZA ITALIA!!!
on the 21st November, 2012 at 6:29pm
It was a great evening! But I do have major concerns going into the Shakhtar game. Juve were, again, extremely wasteful in attack. Composure was missing, there were too many poor long-shots; when it would have been better to keep the ball, or pass to a teammate. Pirlo & Bonucci almost gave me a heart attack when they were either caught on the ball or passed it straight to the opposition. Juve did play very well, but they can be even better if they cut-out these lapses in concentration.
on the 21st November, 2012 at 5:32pm
What an awesome game !!! never have I seen an Italian team comprehensively dominate an English team like last night. I was even more impressed that Juve didn't sit back after scoring the first goal and instead continued to put more pressure on Chelsea.

With regards to the defence, there were a few nervy moments in the 1st half but in the 2nd half, the defence was solid.

The way Juve played last night I can't see how Llorente will fit in, but Cavani or Rossi ? Mmm...
on the 21st November, 2012 at 5:19pm
i loved tuttosport's headline 'unleash hell' and Juve really did - fantastic football guys!!
on the 21st November, 2012 at 4:45pm
@stu cats yes i did watch the game. Bonucci kept on giving the ball away thinking he is Ronald Koeman by playing long balls, he was skinned twice sticking your right leg out and trying to hold onto a player is not good defending.Anyways we are in an era where good defenders are at a premium so he is in good company. Maybe I am used to seeing the likes of Ferrara and Montero so I dont condone mediocrity. Juve dominate games but no good strikers means they struggle to put teams away
on the 21st November, 2012 at 4:16pm
Fantastic result and a magnificent performance, I'm a very proud & happy Juventino today :-D

***
on the 21st November, 2012 at 4:00pm
Unfair criticism for the Juve attack. Why do people feel like you need one big name stricker to be powerful in attack. If anything Juve proves that having multiple, consistent strikers gets you better results in the long run. Let there goal totals this year speak for themselves.
on the 21st November, 2012 at 3:29pm
I am cautiously optimistic after this win!! I celebrated the win yesterday, but today im already thinking about the game against Shakhtar they have a solid team and although i know we are better, i am fully aware that they can beat us! I have seen Juve get knocked out in similar situations before so i will leave my celebrations on ice until after the final game. TODAY MILAN HAS TO WIN and im rooting for them!!
on the 21st November, 2012 at 3:02pm
@Dennis
Did you even watch the game yesterday? Bonucci was one the best players on the pitch, he even took the yellow for the team when Chelsea was going to break on the counter. He is the only player to have started every single game this term for Juventus. Do your homework before you start bashing a player you know nothing about.
on the 21st November, 2012 at 2:50pm
Well said Luca, Juve needs the confidence in Europe to go forward and this game showed the Bianconeri can go all the way in the CL.
on the 21st November, 2012 at 2:48pm
Well done Juve..
on the 21st November, 2012 at 2:42pm
Che cuore Juve che cuore. A great win, the performance was excellent. They need to go for it against Shaktar, its going to be tough but we cant throw it away now. Hopefully get Drogba on loan in january then Llorente or Villa in the summer. As I keep saying lets get behind all the other italian teams this week for the good of our game. Quagliarella is a top player, prandelli needs to get his act together and call him up. In March against Malta lets see consigli, roncaglia and quags all called up
on the 21st November, 2012 at 2:36pm
Juventus completely played us off the park...only Spain can play a false 9 system coz they have the right type of players for it...really sad to see Di Matteo go. Well done Juve you guys deserved the win
on the 21st November, 2012 at 2:26pm
three will be no biscotto Shakter dont even let teams have the ball when its kicked out for an injury, they nick it and score a tap in haha
on the 21st November, 2012 at 2:05pm
very good result and the performance was good but lets not kid ourselves Juventus have a serious problem in attack. What I saw last night was incredible with Quags despite his goal was pretty poor while Vucinic thou talented is not someone you wanna depend on. Why does Bonucci play? The man cannot be the last man at the back or his team would be destroyed by top class attackers
on the 21st November, 2012 at 2:00pm
.....We(Juve) have to go for the juggular against Shaktar!
on the 21st November, 2012 at 1:51pm
This is Juve my friend.

With Conte back on the bench, Juve will become such a destroyer and again undefeated.

Forza Juve.
on the 21st November, 2012 at 1:50pm
Conte is a genius,his tactics were spot on with even the English media conceding the better side triumphed.If only we had a prolific goalscorer we could go all the way.RDM did not deserve to be "sacked" although his ineffective defence should be.No team including Barca will want to face us in Turin and especially when Conte is back.Well done to the team and to the fans who make it "Fortress Juventus Arena"
on the 21st November, 2012 at 1:30pm
Juve were clearly the strongest side and they ripped Chelsea apart. Where are the usual idiotic comments about Juve being poor in Europe? Or that they only do well thanks to referees?
....
....
The sound of silence is music to my ears.....

Forza Juve!!!!!
on the 21st November, 2012 at 12:25pm
The Shakhtar game is of the highest importance. Progression could mean a new striker in January, and if I were Marotta I would charge down to Naples with €40m cash and give them Matri and Quagliarella for Cavani. Then we have a team capable of beating anybody. But it all depends on a draw. Dare I say it? Catenaccio is key, all over the pitch. Who knows Juve might even win the game and after last night's Ukrainian unsporting conduct, that would be a lovely tonic. Forza Biscotto!
on the 21st November, 2012 at 12:19pm

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