Juventus have been playing some very high-scoring matches, providing rich entertainment to its viewers – at least to those who are neutral. Around 10 days back, the Old Lady hosted an in-form Sampdoria side who had defeated Inter and were being billed as one of the title contenders. The Bianconeri produced an outstanding display of attacking, fluent team football while thrashing the sorry Blucerchiati 5-1. This was followed by an astonishing 2-3 defeat to Napoli in Turin as they wasted a 2-0 half-time lead. The goal fest continued in Bergamo as Juventus took on Atalanta and emerged victorious 5-2.
Mauro Camoranesi is in incredible form, scoring twice in first half to give Juve 2-0 cushion at half time. When the Argentine-born winger is in form, the Bianconeri are unstoppable. Jaime Valdes pulled one back for Atalanta in the 50th minute as fear of repeat of Napoli diaster struck the Bianconeri faithful. However, Felipe Melo had other ideas as he produced a scorcher from distance to beat goalkeeper Andrea Consigli. Fabio Ceravolo scored in the 70th minute to again reduce the deficit. But late goals from Diego and David Trezeguet sealed the match and gave the scoreline a skewed look. Juventus’ defensive problems were exposed as both fullbacks were at fault for the two goals. Martin Caceres could not mark Valdes properly for the first goal, whereas Fabio Grosso gifted the second goal to Ceravolo. Juventini must fondly look back at the golden days when they possessed the best fullbacks in the world in the form of Gianluca Zambrotta and Lilian Thuram.
The goal scored by Trezeguet was his 167th in the Italian League. In doing so, he equaled Omar Sivori’s tally of goals for Juventus and is now the joint highest foreign scorer for the Old Lady. For those who don’t know, Enrique Omar Sivori was an Argentine-born forward who played for Juventus between 1957 and 1965. During his stay in Turin, he formed a fearsome trident with two other Juve legends – John Charles and Giampiero Boniperti – and terrorized Calcio defenses. Acquiring Italian citizenship in 1961, Sivori became the first Italian and Juve player to win the European Player of the Year Award in the same year. Trezeguet could not contain his joy at equaling the legendary forward’s goal tally and celebrated by taking off his shirt. It is incredible that he was so close to leaving the Bianconeri for two consecutive past seasons. However, this romance will not last for a long time. Amauri will be available for the next game and when Vincenzo Iaquinta and Alessandro Del Piero recover fully, Trezegoal will find himself down the pecking order.
In other statistics, Fabio Cannavaro reached another personal milestone as his appearance against Atalanta was his 400th in Serie A. The veteran center-back is gelling rather nicely with Georgio Chiellini which reduces selection headaches for Marcelo Lippi as well. Juventus fans also got to have a brief look at Ciro Immobile – the 19 year old striker who made his season debut in the dying minutes of the game. The forward has caught attention of many after scoring five goals in the Viareggio Tournament of 2009 which the Bianconeri won.
Inter hosted Roma and were looking to maintain the massive seven point lead over Juventus. Mirco Vucinic’s long range header from Marco Motta’s cross caught the home side by surprise. The Nerazzurri pressed forward and created several chances but were denied by an outstanding performance by Julio Sergio in the Roma goal. In particular, his save from Diego Milito’s close range effort in the 18th minute was truly exceptional. Samuel Eto’o equalized for Inter just after the break to extend Jose Mourinho’s unbeaten home streak to 150 games. Claudio Ranieri’s war of words with Mourinho continued as the Italian tactician criticized the wily Portuguese for his post match comments. Mourinho had claimed that the Roman side did not play to win and the referee was against his side. The Inter boss was not in a good mood as he criticized his entire team especially singling out Mario Balotelli. When asked a question about the volatile forward, Mourinho rated his performance as zero. Ranieri also blasted Patrick Viera as his first half clash with Daniele De Rossi left the Roman injured and had to be substituted. De Rossi suffered from a broken cheekbone and will need to undergo an operation.
Il Lupi deserved a point from the game after their spirited display. The reduced gap won’t have the Nerazzurri faithful sweating yet as five points is still a significant difference and Inter have more consistency than any other Serie A outfit.