Marchisio 43, Pepe 50, Quagliarella 67
Pozzi 36, 73, Cassano 61
A vastly-improved Juventus side was held to a high-scoring draw by Sampdoria at the Stadio Olimpico. Twice in the second half the Bianconeri led, only to see Gigi Del Neri’s former side equalise both times. Nicola Pozzi made sure that his opponents would not gain from Giampaolo Pazzini’s absence as he scored two very well-taken goals.
Milos Krasic was easily Juventus’ best player on the afternoon. Near the end of first half, his headed assist was superbly struck by Claudio Marchisio for the equaliser. Fabio Quagliarella’s goal came as a direct result of Krasic’s perfect cross from right wing. Apart from that, the Serbian made a number of scintillating runs through the midfield. On one such occasion, he found himself one-on-one with Gianluca Curci but his low shot was rather comfortably parried away by the goalkeeper. On being substituted, Krasic received a standing ovation from the crowd. It seems he has already won over the Juve faithful with his professional attitude and excellent display on the pitch.
Felipe Melo was criticised heavily last year for not only his poor performances, but his attitude towards fans. Before the start of this season, it was as if he had burnt all bridges with the tifosi, and so expectations were low. However, he has been on a run of several good games and his good form continued today. The Brazilian made several challenges to break Sampdoria’s play and drove forward occasionally.
By passing the ball to others more often, he kept things simple. Apart from a couple of lapses in concentration, Melo generally bossed the midfield. If he keeps his temper in check, does not antagonise the fans and continues performing as a pure defensive midfielder, he could become a fan favourite.
Given that the defence was the chief culprit for the disastrous last season, Juventini will not be happy to see their side concede three goals. Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini are somewhat similar in their game-play and they need some more time to gel together. The full-back department needs to be strengthened in either winter or summer irrespective of the position in table. Marco Motta is defensively extremely poor and today he did not do anything to improve his reputation. Antonio Cassano whizzed past him frequently as if the Udinese-owned right-back wasn’t there. Motta will need to improve rapidly to have any hopes of staying with Juventus next year. His counterpart on the left wing – Paolo De Ceglie – had a much-improved outing as compared to the horror show two weeks ago.
Del Neri’s substitutions came a little late as he removed Motta in lieu of Zdenek Grygera. In a somewhat surprising move, he removed both the wingers on 78th minute to hand Alberto Aquilani his Juventus debut while bringing on Vincenzo Iaquinta to increase aerial threat. The moves were about to pay off as the Bianconeri created a flurry of chances and went agonisingly close to the winning goal. But the deadlock wasn’t broken and the spoils were deservedly shared.