Juventus were lucky in their 0-0 draw with Serie A new boys Sassuolo, eventually winning on penalties in the Trofeo TIM.
“Overall the important thing was we finished this stage of pre-season with no injuries,” said Antonio Conte.
“This evening it was positive that we didn’t concede, but we showed very little of what we know and are capable of. It’s understandable, as we trained very intensely and the legs were pretty heavy.
“We know that we play a different type of football and will try to work even harder. I have a group of strikers available and will make my evaluations based on each game and who proves they deserve it during the week.”
The Bianconeri lost the first game on penalties to Milan, so had one point and faced hosts Sassuolo in the second Trofeo TIM mini-match. It was a special night at the Mapei Stadium for Simone Zaza, who is co-owned by Juve.
Sassuolo won the Serie B title last season, earning their first ever promotion into the top flight. They had the stronger start, as Jasmin Kurtic cut in from the right and his angled drive was fingertipped on to the base of the far post by Marco Storari.
Moments later it was Alberto Pomini who needed his wits about him with a reaction save to deny Alessandro Matri from close range.
Mirko Vucinic had plenty of time and space, but ballooned over the bar from a very promising position. The Montenegrin did better as an assist-man with a backheel flick, but Matri scuffed the finish well wide.
Kurtic went very close again on 16 minutes, as he went on the counter-attack and cut back to commit Federico Peluso, but curled just past the far top corner.
Domenico Berardi also turned over from the edge of the box, as did Zaza, while substitute Juventus goalkeeper Rubinho performed a great save on Emanuele Terranova’s glancing header from a free kick.
Fabio Quagliarella hit the side-netting, but it was mainly Sassuolo and Romanian summer signing Marius Alexe ballooned another excellent scoring opportunity over the bar.
The 0-0 result meant another penalty shoot-out for Juve and Quagliarella’s opener was saved by Pomini. Zaza sent Rubinho the wrong way to immediately give Sassuolo the advantage.
Marcel Buchel, Kurtic (with a cheeky chipped penalty) and Pol Garcia Tena scored, but Rubinho parried the Alexe effort.
However, Matri ballooned well over to give Sassuolo the advantage again, which Simone Missiroli took. Arturo Vidal converted and Terranova could’ve won it for the hosts, but Rubinho fingertipped his penalty on to the upright.
It went to sudden death, as Marco Motta scored and Rubinho performed another excellent save on Berardi.
As per the rules of the Trofeo TIM, Juventus picked up two points for winning on penalties, while Sassuolo received one. The final match is Milan-Sassuolo.
Juventus 0-0 Sassuolo (4-3 on penalties)
Penalty shoot-out: Quagliarella (saved J), Zaza (goal S), Buchel (goal J), Kurtic (goal S), Pol Garcia (goal J), Alexe (saved S), Matri (missed J), Missiroli (goal S), Vidal (goal J), Terranova (saved S), Motta (goal J), Berardi (saved S)
Juventus: Storari (Rubinho 25); Lichtsteiner (Penna 25), Ogbonna, Peluso (Buchel 29); Isla (Vidal 37), Padoin (Motta 18), Rossi, Asamoah, De Ceglie (Pol Garcia 18); Matri, Vucinic (Quagliarella 25)
Sassuolo: Pomini; Gazzola, Antei, Terranova, Longhi; Kurtic, Magnanelli, Missiroli; Berardi, Zaza, Alexe
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