Both teams, you felt, could come out of it with their heads held high – if not the three points. With the Italian Super Cup to play for and a draw in the last 16 of the Champions League awaiting them, it was job done for the Bianconeri, who slowly but surely turned up the heat on Torino in a game which could easily have slipped away from them. It helps, of course, to have Serie A’s most deadly fin365足球论坛isher on your side.
However, there were more than enough good points for Toro to take from the match as365娱乐开户 well. Their fans were understandably deflated after a deadly one-two in the closing 10 minutes denied them even the consolation of a single point from the clash. But, when they have time to reflect on things, they will realise that the game was another indicator of the progress they have made.
It made for another fine match which Serie A could be proud of. There was plenty of tactical acumen and technical excellence, but without it ever suffocating the spectacle. It had a good ebb and flow to it and also, of course, the passion you would expect from a derby match.
In Belotti, they have a lion-hearted frontman who leads by example, but they have plenty of other impressive performers. Mirko Valdifiori makes the midfield tick, Luca Rossettini is rock-solid at the back and Ljajic and Iago Falque provide sparks of creativity and class. If you add to that the up-and-coming under-25s like Marco Benassi, Daniele Baselli and Antonio Barreca and you have plenty to feel optimistic about.
Overall, Italian football was a winner too. It was a game played without the histrionics and controversy which sometimes blight the big matches in Serie A. It’s great to see teams have a genuine go at Juventus and try to knock them from their perch at the top of the table. And, of course, La Vecchia Signora will respond – as she so often has throughout her history – by slowly but surely smothering their dreams.
Not that Sinisa Mihajlovic’s men should be all doom and gloom after their derby defeat. It took some fine play to finish them off and, for spells at least, they were capable of going toe-to-toe with their most bitter rivals without the slightest hint of what would have been an understandable inferiority complex. If they continue to play with that level of character and determination, they can surely keep themselves in the fight for European football until the closing stages of the season.
Since the day and hour they came into existence, Juventus have been crushing their rivals’ aspirations. A week ago, they were putting high-flying Atalanta in their place. This weekend they extinguished their city cousins’ hopes of a derby victory. In between, they were winning their group in the Champions League. Suddenly, the Bianconeri’s capitulation at Genoa seems but a distant memory.
There was no doubt that, over the arc of the entire match, the boys in black and white deserved their victory, although the margin seemed harsh on Torino. With Claudio Marchisio at the heart of the midfield, the reigning champions always looked the better side despite a very brave challenge from Adem Ljajic and company. The Granata are a team growing in stature with every passing day, but Juventus are already mature and fully confident of their means.
The Argentinian’s second finish, in particular, was the heart-breakingly precise kind of match-winning contribution you expect from a striker of his pedigree. Could it be enough, finally, to make the Turin giants successful on both the domestic and European front this season?
And yet, for a little while at least, it looked like things might have ended up so differently. In-form hitman Andrea Belotti – a player who typifies the fighting spirit of his club – had given the Granata a lead which might have shaken La Vecchia Signora’s resolve. Stephan Lichtsteiner, the so-called Swiss Express, was caught waiting at the station while the Toro striker powered past him to open the scoring.
However, Max Allegri’s men responded with the confidence of habitual champions. A Gonzalo Higuain double, followed by a clincher from Miralem Pjanic, pulled them – for a while at least – seven points clear at the top of the table. It’s not all that amazing what a pair of players worth more than £100m between them brings you, is it?
But Juve showed that they remain the team to beat in Italy, despite a few uncharacteristic blackouts this season. There were spells when their reshuffled defence did show a few cracks, which will have given the would-be chasing pack some hope. The trouble is that, regardless of their occasional failings, nobody has shown anything like the consistency to seriously challenge them so far this season. Monday night will decide who be网球开户tween Milan and Roma has the best credentials to actually give them food for thought.