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Sunday January 28 2018
Juve thank Chievo suicide

It was drab, uninspired and enlivened only by two moments of Chievo madness, but Adam Digby and Juventus will gladly take the points.

We’ve learned not to expect surprises when Juventus step into the Stadio Bentegodi. Every time the Bianconeri travel east to take on Chievo, the match unfolds in almost exactly the same way. Their resilient opponents put up a strong fight, seemingly packing the entire population of the Veronese suburb behind the ball, Rolando Maran instructing them to relinquish possession, maintain their shape and deny the visitors the time and space they need to create an opening.

From there, the complaints begin. Juventus supporters bemoan their side’s lack of creativity, falling back on the all-too-easy criticisms of Sami Khedira, Stefano Sturaro and Kwadwo Asamoah as if their particular favourite players are not also struggling to make a tangible impact. Usually, the frustration grows and grows until the Old Lady eventually finds a breakthrough, unbeaten in her last 16 meetings with the Flying Donkeys.

On Saturday evening, the same pathology looked to be playing out. In the first half, Juve dominated possession, but – even after Samuel Bastien’s senseless red card – they could not find a way through the wall of yellow-shirted players in front of Stefano Sorrentino’s goal. Gonzalo Higuain seemed badly affected by his personal drought, booked for demanding an opponent to be punished for a foul in an incident that would prove to be a portent of things to come.

As he left the pitch for the half-time break, the Argentinian was met by Gigi Buffon – on the bench as he continues to recover from an injury – and the club Captain clearly had words of advice for his team-mate. The opening five minutes of the second period continued in the same way, but it was then that Max Allegri made his change.

Sending on Federico Bernardeschi in place of Sturaro, the team was clearly prepared for the shift, changing to a 4-2-3-1 formation and instantly looking much more dangerous. Chances finally began to arrive, but a rare Chievo foray forward led to a bizarre situation after Fabrizio Cacciatore went down in hope of being awarded a penalty.

The Turin native stayed down for quite some time and when Juve won a corner, referee Fabio Maresca allowed the medic on to treat the 31-year-old. He then refused to leave the field, until he trotted to the sideline and made a handcuffs gesture. This prompted a straight red card and left the Gialloblu with nine men for the final half hour.

Did the referee over-react in a situation where Chievo were already down to 10 men? Maybe. Was it an incredibly stupid and futile gesture to make in the circumstances? Absolutely.

It took Juve less than six minutes to capitalise, Bernardeschi playing a perfectly weighted ball back into the box which Mario Mandzukic cleverly left for Khedira. The German midfielder made no mistake, thumping his shot beyond Sorrentino and into the back of the net. 

In the final minutes, Higuain nodded in Douglas Costa’s cross to claim his first goal since December 1, a timely strike given Juve have much sterner tests on the horizon. A Coppa Italia semi-final against Atalanta, the derby with Torino, a clash with bitter rivals Fiorentina and of course the Champions League meeting with Tottenham all await, meaning there really is no better time for Pipita to be back among the goals.

Ultimately, a January win over Chievo is both standard for the Old Lady and largely a meaningless result, played out in typically boring and frustrating circumstances. It is a match that will likely be remembered more for Cacciatore’s ridiculous outburst than anything else, but if it proves to be the game where Higuain finally returned to form, at the end of the season we might well look back on it as a pivotal 90 minutes in Juventus’ latest triumph.

Have your say...
According to the Media Mr Marotta's main efforts to add quality to the Juventus squad are targeted mainly on Emre Can and Darmian.
Bearing in mind that both Caldara and Spinazzola are due to join the Club as well.
There is also an interest on De Vrji should Juventus decide to let go of the right to buy Howedes.
Also mooted is a move for one from three, Pellegrini, Barella and Cristante.
on the 30th January, 2018 at 4:07pm
Should I throw my hat in for ref talk? Nah, not in the mood.

My dream formation is 4231 right now, last season and so far with all the goals prove that there's still something to deliver. But it's also true that 433 brings a balance we missed early on this season, only with Matuidi as LM. Chievo being an outlier for 4231's revival, I hope Allegri chooses wisely which formation to settle on if not regularly use both. Matuidi is only good for one from what I saw.
on the 29th January, 2018 at 10:01pm
FORZA JUVE!
Come on Bernardeshi!
Great player, even greater Club!
on the 29th January, 2018 at 8:14pm
Dennis

Allegri is paid to win.
Any kind of win, as long as it is a win, is always welcome!
All great teams are built on a solid defence.
on the 29th January, 2018 at 7:39pm
Juve cheat, that's how they win.
No bribes, no victory!
Keep on bribing, Juve, everyone knows (including your fans, deep down) all your victories are empty and meaningless.
on the 29th January, 2018 at 5:56pm
was waved on. My problem with Juventus against Chievo is the 1 I have with most Italian managers. Against 8 outfield players in a team you ought to beat in your sleep, Allegri still had too many defensive minded players on the park. Litchenstein even came on afterwards. Grinding out results againstmen is fine but against 9 just means you lack quality. Being solid all the time and worrying too much about conceding makes trying to win Cl very difficult imo
on the 29th January, 2018 at 3:18pm
Getting favourable decisions from referees is not cheating and it’s not exclusive to Juventus. I saw Callejhon go down like a sack of potatoes because he was touched not pulled. A penalty was given after viewing which I found incredible. Koulibally handled the ball in the box and nothing was given. City scored a very good goal but the dunce of a linesman deemed Sane to be off. Messi scored a free kick against Alaves but Alcacer who was brought down was clearly offside. Umtiti handled in the box
on the 29th January, 2018 at 3:10pm
It is always interesting to see how fans from other clubs cry about Juventus. Yeah, like it's Juventus fault that Chievo got 2 really stupid red cards on Saturday.
on the 29th January, 2018 at 12:23pm
Yes it was a soft penalty for Napoli but a penalty nonetheless. The ref saw it and went to VAR where it was confirmed. You've have to be a moron to grab someone by the shoulder in the penalty area and Bologna got what they deserved! A penalty all day long. As for Chievo what a joke they committed suicide unless of course those players were being paid by Marotta!
on the 29th January, 2018 at 10:21am
Juve cheat, this week was the best example. Even if you win, it will always be tainted because everyone, even Juve fans, deep down, know it was through bribery and not though skill.
on the 29th January, 2018 at 8:03am
6 SCUDETTO'S 3 COPPA ITALIA'S AND 2 CHAMP LEAGUE FINAL'S.....YUP! JUVE'S ROBBING EVERYTHING.,[SIGH" HATER'S WILL BE HATER'S I GUESS. PEEPS GIMME A BREAK PPLLLEEEAAASSSEEE STOP WITH THE CONSPIRACIES FOR CRYIN OUT LOUD ABOUT JUVE THIS AND JUVE THAT. They are a step above the rest and it's up to the rest of Seria A to catch up to be at their level ditto.
on the 29th January, 2018 at 5:16am
It must be sad for fans of other teams to put up with Juventus dominance in Serie A.
But for the Juventini it's always "festa"!
on the 29th January, 2018 at 4:14am
As an Inter fan, I really do think the refs have favored Juve in the past. This game was an exception however as all the blame sits squarely on Chievo for the reds, leaving the referee no other choices.
on the 28th January, 2018 at 10:15pm
Pino, and Inter having a mental breakdown. Coincidence... I think not.
on the 28th January, 2018 at 9:53pm
@Italian in Canada. You are right. People only talk when it's Juve, and ignore whatever happens when all the others get favorable calls
on the 28th January, 2018 at 9:50pm
Heard on the grapevine that Juventus will swoop on Verdi in the summer.
And the interest in Emre Can and Darmian is still alive.
on the 28th January, 2018 at 7:51pm
I'd like to see a strong, super 4-3-2-1 with:

BERNARDESCHI ------ DOUGLAS
------------HIGUAIN---------
on the 28th January, 2018 at 6:32pm
@Pino: And the Napoli "soft" penalty just now? Is it only cheating and ref-buying when it's Juve? Napoli are utter trash today, but they NEED a win to stay top, and so they'll get it with "soft" calls. You see how easy conspiracy theories are against any team.
on the 28th January, 2018 at 4:21pm
The rules remain d same.
Injured player must spend some moments for treatment off the pitch.
This rules goes to any injuries, real or fake injury. If the game had to be stoped for that injured player, he must get off the pitch for treatment.
Refusing it can cost him card.
Alleged time wasting is also punishable with card.

And the very matter rule now is the SENDING OFF OFFENCES, the 2nd last factor,
Using offensive, insulting or abusing language and/or GESTURES.

According the rules, it's red
on the 28th January, 2018 at 4:08pm
How can anyone think juvenile is a great team, they have a meteocore team at best barely winning with some help in every game from corrupt officiating system. It's something the entire soccer world can see. Also team is bad that outsiders seria A they have accomplished nothing. On top of everything they are responsible for deterioration of seria A and the Italian player ratios.
on the 28th January, 2018 at 4:03pm
Napoli's questionable off side last week??? anybody, anybody, or is that ok that is just an honest mistake????
on the 28th January, 2018 at 3:50pm
Pino, whatever it takes to win mate, I hope it does, because it is the same tired old arguments and sentiments, the guy did a blatant tug back, professional foul, to disrupt an attack, and the other guy with the handcuff gesture was disrespectful, and refs should act on bad language and all that stuff, both worthy of punishment, have your little pity party mate.
on the 28th January, 2018 at 3:48pm
I don't see a reason to not give a straight red to Cacciatore. Mocking the ref, that is super stupid. Chievo players did the job for Juve. And Bastien... you just got booked 2 minutes ago, why the hell did you pull Asamoah right in front of the referee?! All those who are commenting that the game was fixed most likely didn't watch it. I don't agree with you, Chievo players should be blamed, not the ref.
on the 28th January, 2018 at 3:33pm
The match would have been very different had Allegri used a better starting 11 and a better formation. But a win is a win. These ugly games is what counts towards the scudetto.
And it was good to see Pipita on the scoring sheet again.

@pino

If there was ever a great example of a desperate hyperbole, it would be your post.
Come back next week when there's actually something to moan about, boy!
on the 28th January, 2018 at 3:16pm
Hahhahahahaha. If anyone EVER needed evidence of Juve's cheating and bribery, this game was it.

Keepy cheating your way to the scudetto, boys!
on the 28th January, 2018 at 1:33pm
Another great day at the office!
A 2-0 win!
Higuain back on the score sheet!
Keep on winning Juve!
3 good points in the bag!
Douglas a shining star!
Barzagli-Benatia superb!

COME ON YOU BLACK&WHITES!
on the 28th January, 2018 at 1:27pm
Asamoah? I don't think anyone can bemoan him since he's a great backup LB, let alone how Sandro is underwhelming thus far.

Sturaro is a special case. He's completely anonymous in build-up (saw a difficult 10 minutes and wondered where Matuidi was), and provides no goals nor defensive cover. We were already down to 10 throughout the match until he left, and it's no wonder that we looked so much better without him.
on the 28th January, 2018 at 10:58am
Super effort from chievo, very impressed with the team unity! I support juve but I do understand the odd situation they were in, it opposition retreat and wait, it was never going to be a classic match as chievo wanted the point like against Roma and napoli, shame about the reds but I think juve would have got the goal in the end but I suppose napoli will talk about the ref? He was clear about how he was going to ref the match!!!!!!!!! So don't antagonize him, u r professionals?????
on the 28th January, 2018 at 8:25am
Referees favoring Rubentus again, its nothing unexpected.
on the 28th January, 2018 at 7:53am
It was close to a perfect ugly match. Had the scoreline been 1-0 then it would of been perfect. The encouragement shown towards the ugliness philosophy has been instilled. No one should be complaining because we made this become a reality. So let us celebrate another victory and thank the naive Juve fans for the long support that they've been given to such a philosophy. This is what Juventus is about and accepted: winning and winning them ugly.
on the 28th January, 2018 at 7:25am

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