SERIE A MATCH REPORT

Serie A Week 18 - 21 Dec 2012 (19.45 UK)
Cagliari 1 - 3 Juventus
Pinilla pen 16 (C); Matri 75, 93 (J) Vucinic 95 (J)
Stadio Tardini (Parma)

Alessandro Matri and Mirko Vucinic scored late in the second half to give Juventus a 3-1 win over 10-man Cagliari.

The Bianconeri opted for Martin Caceres at centre-back following Giorgio Chiellini's injury in midweek, whilst Fabio Quagliarella was given a start up top as they aimed to end 2012 on a high.

Ivo Pulga’s men meanwhile were looking for the three points that would take them up to 13th, and did so by giving Pinilla and Marco Sau a starting berth.

And it was the Italian striker who claimed the first opportunity as he weaved his way into the away side’s penalty area on 16 minutes, only to be tripped by Arturo Vidal.

His strike-partner Pinilla step up to take the resulting spot-kick, and dispatched it fantastically into the top left-hand corner leaving Gianluigi Buffon no chance.

The Old Lady were not down heartened however, and soon came roaring back. Stephan Lichtsteiner and Kwadwo Asamoah were providing width with their bombastic runs, as Andrea Pirlo looked to be provider at the base of the midfield – chances though, were not forthcoming.

 The Sicilian side’s backline were proving more than capable, as any threats posed by Antonio Conte’s men were quickly nullified – the closest the Turin side came before the half-time whistle was a scuffed volley from inside the area by Quagliarella.

Whatever the management said at the break, it clearly worked, as Juve came out for the second period a rejuvenated team.

They upped their intensity, their commitment and their quality – but still they couldn’t find that opening. Claudio Marchisio went close early on, but his effort was saved well by Michael Agazzi.

Their best chance however, fell on 63 minutes as a Pirlo corner found the head of Leonardo Bonucci, who powered an effort against the bar. Substitute Matri then saw his follow-up tipped away by the goalkeeper, before Asamoah flicked his own header wide.

It was a let-off for the Isolani, but their luck changed soon after as Davide Astori was sent off for a second bookable offence after a trip on Sebastian Giovinco.

Six minutes later, and it got even worse, as the diminutive forward was tripped inside the area by Daniele Del Fabro. Arturo Vidal however, stepped up to take the spot-kick, and fired it high over the bar.

The Bianconeri weren’t to be denied though, as just moments after the penalty miss, a Vucinic shot was palmed away by the keeper, only for Matri to pounce and slot home.

There was still enough time for Agazzi to make an exceptional stop from a close-range Asamoah header, but with just minutes left of the match a Thiago Ribeiro clearance inside the Cagliari area ricocheted off of Vidal, into Matri’s path, and the striker eased the ball in to sink his old club.

And it got even better for Juve, as with virtually the last kick of the game, Vucinic tapped in to make it 3-1.


Cagliari: Agazzi; Pisano, Astori, Ariaudo, Murru (Perico 53); Dessena, Nainggolan, Ekdal; Thiago Ribeiro; Pinilla, Sau (Del Fabro 67)
Juventus: Buffon; Barzagli, Bonucci, Caceres (Padoin 62); Lichtsteiner, Vidal, Pirlo, Marchisio, Asamoah; Quagliarella (Matri 61), Giovinco (Vucinic 72)
Ref: Damato

Sent off: Astori 65 (C)

Missed penalty: Vidal 71 (J)