MANCHESTER CITY 1Johnson 37
JUVENTUS 1Iaquinta 10
Gigi Delneri decided to give the in-form Felipe Melo some rest by starting Momo Sissoko over him, perhaps with an eye on the clash against Inter on Sunday. Jorge Martinez was given his first taste of Europe as he started on the left wing instead of the usual Simone Pepe. However the opponent’s line-up did feature a familiar face as Patrick Viera started in midfield for Manchester City. Considering the amount of money spent by City in transfer market, and the fact that Juve are still in rebuilding phase, it was a well-earned draw for the Old Lady.
Vincenzo Iaquinta remains Juventus’ most effective prima punta. His physical presence and movement caused the City defence problems all evening. His powerful strike from distance that broke the deadlock was a testament to his strength. His attacking partner Alessandro Del Piero was also extremely deadly with set pieces and provided lot of threat up front.
Milos Krasic seemed lively and dangerous initially. Shortly after the first goal, he had a legitimate penalty claim waved off when Pablo Zabaleta tackled him from behind. However, at times it seemed that Krasic tried too hard to impress. On one occasion, he nearly gifted the ball to Carlos Tevez and fortunately for him, the Argentine shot wide. His influence waned as the half progressed, thanks to some excellent marking by the Blues. He was involved for parts of the second half without threatening the City backline and was removed 15 minutes from time as Delneri decided to hold the score line by bringing on Melo.
For all the criticism that the Juventus backline has received in recent times, both the Bianconeri center-backs were absolutely rock solid today. Especially, Giorgio Chiellini, who was a solid defensive unit as he made countless challenges, collected and cleared loose balls, all without making any mistakes. Manchester City players pushed forward in numbers towards the end of both halves and quality work from him and Leonardo Bonucci helped Juve avoid another goal and prevent a typical Juventus capitulation.
Marco Motta should be worried about his starting position since Zdenek Gryegera had a surprisingly good game as he managed to keep Tevez in check. Grygera closed down the space effectively and restricted Tevez to long range shots. On top of that, he also managed to unnerve the Argentine as evident from their small tussle near 70th minute. It was not a world-class performance by any means, but given the Argentine’s reputation, Delneri will be more than pleased with his right-backs’ work on the evening.
Paolo De Ceglie will be held at fault for Manchester City’s equalizer. The left back was horribly caught out of position as Adam Johnson beat the offside trap to latch on Yaya Toure’s excellent through ball. But apart from that, he was quite solid in his position, covering lots of ground and making plenty tackles – a definite improvement over his poor start to the season.
Unlike Grygera, Martinez did not do any favors to his chances of starting consistently. The Uruguay forward was not involved in anything constructive in the entire first half and was subsequently replaced early in the second half for Pepe. To be fair to Martinez, he has been injured for a few weeks and short of match fitness.
21 Grygera – 19 Bonucci- 3 Chiellini- 29 De Ceglie
27 Krasic – 5 Sissoko – 8 Marchisio – 25 Martinez
9 Iaquinta – 10 Del Piero
54 – 23 Pepe on for 25 Martinez
72 – 2 Motta on for 29 De Ceglie
75 – 4 Felipe Melo on for 27 Krasic