Legro 9, Zebina 25, Trez 45
The Stadio Olmpico di Turin was the venue for a cracking match, both teams aware that this is only round one of two. The first 5 minute saw both team sizing each other up and getting into a rhyme, and it was Juventus who were the first to make some noise. On seven minutes the veteran David Trezeguet had a great header on goal but he just missed the target, but there was a certain air about this Juve team, they were out to re build their reputation, and the corner was superbly taken by Diego and an unmarked Nicolas Legrottaglie attacked the ball with his head and saw it fly into the back of the net.
Fulham had no choice but to respond and respond they did when at 16 minutes Simon Davis almost equalised it for the visitors but he miss- timed his kick and missed the ball- this just showed how important experience is as a number of times the Cottagers could have scored but their lack of precision and killer instinct let them down. The Bianconeri showed their pedigree when at 23 minutes Trezeguet had another opportunity but the Frenchman couldn’t double the lead but no worries because at 25 minutes Jonathan Zebina the French defender scored a wonderful and unexpected goal from the wonderful work by Claudio Marchisio and made it 2-0. Both the goals came from defenders, not exactly who you would expect to score, but the fact that every player in a black and white shirt was willing to score just emphasised the importance of this competition to Juve.
Throughout the game Diego was willing to get back and help his defence when required,something Ronaldinho of Milan should take note of, during the thrashing by Manchester United Ronny and Klaas Jan Huntelaar were rooted to the same spot and not working had for the ball, whereas The Old Lady showed great teamwork by helping each other out and being more flexible in the way they approached the game. Even when it looked like Fulham had gotten back into this tie when Dickson Etuhu scored from a Davis free- kick and helped on by a deflection by Legrotaglie, Juve never stopped working and were duly rewarded at 45 minutes when again the Frenchman Trezeguet was involved. It seemed the third time was the charm when Trezeguet initial shot hit the post but he got it in on the rebound and Juve were ahead before half-time a dream start for a team on the back of a revival.
The second half saw a Juventus side beaming with confidence and self belief when at the 48th minute Diego had an opportunity to make it 4-1 and put the game to bed, but his shot was wayward and didn’t trouble the keeper- much to his relief. The game ended 3-1, but there is still hope for Fulham in the return leg courtesy of the away goal rule. But in this first fixture Juventus have shown they have strength a quality even without Gianluigi Buffon and Alessandro Del Piero.