The Bianconeri travelled to Rome again to face a Lazio side that have had a perfect start to the season, and while it was not a vintage Juventus performance, it was enough to secure three points. They started the game with great intent and several chances, and none were as sublime as the one in which Amauri chested down the ball, passed to David Trezeguet, who struck powerfully, only to see Fernando Muslera tip the ball over the crossbar. But after the initial strength of the boys in black and white, Lazio came fighting back. Juventus struggled in the first half and were restricted to defending for the most part as the capital club continued to threaten but thank God for Gianluigi Buffon who yet again managed to protect his goal with valuable saves.
There was heart break for the Bianconeri faithful soon after when Diego was stretchered off with an injury leaving him sidelined for a week and therefore unavailable for the Champions League clash with Bordeaux tonight. This was quickly followed by controversy as the first half drew to a close, when Lazio were awarded a free kick whereby the ball bounced around the six-yard box and went over the line in the midst of all the commotion. However, the whistle had already been blown as Julio Cruz was deemed to have pushed Nicola Legrottaglie and the goal was disallowed, leaving the Biancocelesti furious.
As the second half commenced, Giovinco began to terrorise the home team and despite his ability, Diego’s flair and physical strength were clearly missed. With 20 minutes or so left on the clock, Martin Caceres marked his debut in stylish fashion as he struck a low ball into the back of the net to open the scoring. Lazio threw in extra firepower in search of an equaliser but Juventus were determined to score another. And in their final push of stoppage time, Trezeguet slotted in the second for the Old Lady.
With that final goal, Trezeguet’s Oscar worthy emotional celebration broke every watching Juventini heart. The Frenchman was visibly elated to have scored for his beloved team and clearly touched as the players rushed to partake in his celebration of goal. So ecstatic was he with his teammates’ support, he has now admitted to reconsidering his departure at the end of the season. “I will talk about it with my family, we’ll see.” Trezeguet noted in a post match interview. And so with these words, the fans have begun to understand the real reasons behind Trezegol’s decision. He simply no longer felt like a vital part of the team. Thus with a bit more faith and with added playing time, Trezegol may well be coerced into staying till his retirement.
And most will be hoping he will as Amauri, despite his motivation, simply does not possess the finesse and natural ability to score. He wasted countless chances on Saturday and alongside Vincenzo Iaquinta, they appear to be nothing more than enthusiastic and energetic forwards that cannot finish. In truth, Amauri did not receive great service from the midfield on Saturday, but the few chances that arrived were squandered. Some are beginning to lose sight of why the Azzurri are pinning their hopes on the Brazilian. In front of the net, he was nothing more than a clumsy giant who only performed adequately. When thinking back to the days of Michel Platini, Roberto Baggio and Gianluca Vialli, it is evident that Amauri and Iaquinta will rarely be remembered as fondly despite their professionalism.
Professionalism is one word that cannot be used to describe Giovinco this week. The ‘Atomic Ant’ had a fine game on Saturday and it was refreshing to see that Ferrara opted to bring him on. And yet, despite this great opportunity in only the third game of the season, Seba ungraciously and disrespectfully commented: “If I was foreign, say from Brazil or Argentina, I’m sure I would play more often. Sometimes I ‘regret’ the fact I’m Italian.” With those words, most fans have gone from admiring the young lad to feeling disappointed with the starlet.
Where to begin? Firstly, the player should be thankful at having been offered the chance to cover the man most have hailed as the new Maradona. Ferrara, who despite the enormous pressure he faces as the Old Lady’s tactician, put his faith in the Azzurrini star instead of either changing formations or opting for another player. Secondly, it’s astonishing that Giovinco has not taken any responsibility for his lack of playing time. He seems to forget that the likes of Diego did not merely arrive in Turin to be handed a starring role because of their nationality. The Brazilian fought, endured hardships in Porto, went to an average team in Germany and worked hard to earn his place. As for Amauri, he has moved from one mediocre team to another before finally arriving at Juventus after a sensational season with Palermo.
True, Giovinco had not been handed many chances and Claudio Ranieri was unfair to the boy but it was Seba’s choice to remain with the most successful Italian team. Perhaps he would not have found himself in this predicament had he chosen to downgrade teams, thus allowing for more playing time. With Diego’s tantalising form and Seba’s injuries, he should be thankful for the opportunity. Most Italian clubs should be punished for their attitude towards youth yet Ferrara has chosen to believe in him. The Atomic Ant should look to repay his Coach’s faith with excellent performances as opposed to ranting in a way that will only demonstrate his immaturity.
As for Juventus this weekend, they weren’t thrilling but they were professional. This balanced team refused to protect their slight advantage and continued to surge ahead. One thing they truly possessed was magnificent team ethic. Moreover, despite the heavy week they had endured due to National team duty, it was Lazio that suffered with fitness whilst Juventus continued to play with ease towards the end. President Giovanni Cobolli Gigli was right when he said that last year, Juve would have lost a game like this.
Tonight sees them take on Bordeaux in their first Champions League match of the season at home and Ferrara will be keen to prove his worth on the European stage. Bordeaux are currently perched at the top of the French League and remain undefeated in their last five games. However, they were unconvincing in the last league match against Grenoble at home and were held to a goalless draw the week before away to Olympique Marseille. If Juve are really serious, they will grab this opportunity to gain maximum points.
Juventus Club Focus 2009/10
Great expectations – August 21, 2009
When in Rome – August 28, 2009
The decline and fall of the Roman Empire – September 1, 2009
World Champions – One in, one out, one remembered – September 4, 2009
International week (Georgia-Italy, Italy-Bulgaria)
Children should be seen, not heard – September 7, 2009
Diego lost to injury in victorious Roman repeat – September 15, 2009