JUVENTUS 2Del Piero 30, Felipe Melo 82
Prior to the game, angry fans mobbed the Juventus team bus and threw eggs and beer bottles towards the bus. One of the ‘fans’ managed to hit Jonathan Zebina in the back of the head. Despite these ugly turn of events, Juventus managed to secure three vital points against a relegation-threatened Atalanta side. The game was somewhat as an exception to the Bianconeri’s hitherto season as they managed to win even if their performance on the pitch was severely underwhelming. The match atmosphere was akin to two sides playing an end-of-the-season game with nothing to play for when the situation was exactly opposite. The low attendance was a result of the Juventus ultra groups abandoning the Curva Nord and Curva Sud as a sign of protest against the current management.
David Trezeguet was looking lively as he had several shots in the first half, but none of them really troubled goalkeeper Andrea Consigli. The game offered nothing surprising as Juventus were sorely lacking in creativity. Momo Sissoko was at his usual ball-winning and hard-working self. On the half-hour mark, Alessandro Del Piero struck a magnificent curling free kick into the top corner to give take the lead. Far too often, the Bianconeri have taken the lead in the first half only to produce an absolutely shambolic display to collapse in the second half. Things seem to take similar turn as Juventus conceded an extremely soft goal from a free kick towards the end of first half. Nicola Amoruso , who happens to be Del Piero’s brother-in-law, was played onside by Fabio Grosso for a simple finish and he added his name to the list of ex-Juventini who scored against The Old Lady this season.
In the second half, Atalanta had several chances, but failed to put them away. They dominated the game at times and tested Alex Manninger 6 times as compared to Juventus’ 3 shots on target. Valdes was giving Zebina a hard time and Amoruso had the better of Fabio Cannavaro and Nicola Legrottaglie. Alberto Zaccheroni’s otherwise puzzling substitution of bringing on Felipe Melo for Antonio Candreva produced result on 82nd minute. Il Pinturicchio produced a fine cross for Melo to head past hapless Consigli. When Melo stepped on to pitch, he was jeered at by the fans that are not happy with his performances and his attitude. The Brazilian’s gesture after his goal was perhaps a sign of apology towards them.
On 35th minute, Diego suffered an injury and was substituted by Sebastian Giovinco. The Juventus faithful have been hungry to see the Atomic Ant play and he was greeted with rousing applause. Although he did not set the stage on fire, he played far better than most of his teammates. His pace and bag of skills proved to be handful for Atalanta defenders. When Giovinco is not injured, he should be starting every game for the Bianconeri. Why he has not been given adequate playing time under Ciro Ferrara and now under Zaccheroni is one of the unsolved mysteries of the season.