Wednesday November 21 2012
Qualification now black and white

Juventus hammered Chelsea 3-0 on Matchday 5 of the Champions League to leave qualification for the knock-out stage in their hands. Luca Cetta wraps up the action.

‘Unleash hell’ roared yesterday’s Tuttosport. Preparing for a must-win encounter, Juventus knew they had to spew Bianconeri venom at their English visitors. Starting behind joint Group E leaders Shakhtar Donetsk and Chelsea, it was imperative Juve took the initiative and more importantly, three points. The European champions stepped into a black and white cauldron and never truly looked comfortable.

The Turin giants welcomed back Andrea Pirlo, Stephan Lichtsteiner and Mirko Vucinic to the starting XI, giving it a typical look and feel. In stark contrast Roberto Di Matteo altered his shape, suggesting they wanted to keep it tight at the back and strike quickly at the other end. Oscar sat behind Eden Hazard and they, along with Juan Mata, were the creative outlets.

Fast starters, Juve had already netted six times inside the opening 15 minutes this term. Only the first and last 15 minutes of the second period had seen more goals scored – seven. One such swift strike arrived in their last European tie versus Nordsjaelland, allowing the pressure to ease and floodgates to open. Lichtsteiner almost played to the script but found Petr Cech unflappable at the near post. The Londoners own plan nearly came to fruition as Oscar slipped through to Hazard, who was denied by the legs of Gigi Buffon. The tone was set before the clock hit double digits.

Chelsea offered a threat when charging forward at pace but like the meeting at Stamford Bridge it was Antonio Conte’s men in control. And this is why Buffon believes Juve deservedly claimed the points.

“We won in every area tonight. We were hungrier, sharper, more attacking, more creative and with a little more precision could’ve scored even more.”

But as witnessed in the past – think back as recently as Saturday – a goalkeeper stood in the way of many Bianconeri attacking forays. They needed to make possession and territory count. Fabio Quagliarella obliged. He continued a rich scoring run by diverting Pirlo’s effort past a stranded Cech just before the break.

As frustrated as they were by Federico Marchetti’s miraculous stop from a near-identical effort on the weekend, this time fans leapt for joy and the stadium erupted. That eased concerns but when faced with three-on-three situations at the other end Juve looked vulnerable. Other than these few occasions, the defensive trio offered unwavering solidity.

Arturo Vidal has looked in imperious form of late and scored his third goal of the group stage on the hour mark. If Quagliarella purposely directed Pirlo’s shot, the touch off Ramires from the Chilean’s drive was very much inadvertent. The result was the same, with Cech bested and Juve taking a giant step toward qualification.

The Old Lady looked irrepressible at this point. Against a disheartened visitor it was almost inevitable that substitute Sebastian Giovinco would round out the scoring. What was bizarre was the sight of Cech, who had kept Chelsea in the contest, inexplicably charging out from goal. Welcome to hell lads.

Angelo Alessio felt Chelsea’s striker-less system – Fernando Torres was benched – aided his side. But he is also aware nothing has yet been assured. “We realise how important the final game will be and we’re not qualified yet. We must play the same way we did today.”

One downside was Claudio Marchisio’s yellow card which means he misses the Shakhtar contest. However, the equation is simple for Juventus. Avoid defeat in Ukraine and they qualify. A win sees them top the group, a draw ensures second spot. Should the latter result occur, they would surpass Chelsea – expected to beat Nordsjaelland – thanks to a superior head-to-head record.

The impressive Shakhtar have already qualified and a draw would suit, leaving them the group winners. This has opened chatter of settling for a ‘biscotto’, the type of result Italy feared at Euro 2012 going into their final group match. But Shakhtar will be eager to prolong their fine season to date in the best possible manner, so nothing can be taken for granted. Nonetheless, after a crushing victory the path ahead is now black and white for Juventus.

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Have your say...
What juve did in the past is in the past. I am not a Juve fan but believe they are the strongest Italian team. I hope the win the Champions League and prove all the haters wrong. They are fighting for Italy too.
on the 25th November, 2012 at 8:06am
Shaktar 2 - Juve 1 Chelski 4 - Nords 0 Arrivederci Black and White.
on the 24th November, 2012 at 8:23pm

Forcable getting a favourable ref is as good as match fixing! You dont need to pay the judge, you just pay the jury.

Or does your little brain hurt with such a simple anology - like most Juve "fans".

Or like most Juve fans are you suffering from amnesia. Trawl through your archives over the last 15 years....the favourable decisions are so obvious - remember Ronaldo, remember Inzaghi....stonewall pens and those are just the big ones.

Hypocrites.Here's waiting on your next scandal
on the 24th November, 2012 at 8:21pm

Let haters be haters. You can't change their opinion about Juve and educating them makes no sense since the truth is starring them in the eyes and if they were truly interested in justice and truth they would urge Inter to surrender their farce awarded titles. Instead they are celebrating those titles as if they had won them on the field. It's easy to hide behind statue of limitations.
on the 24th November, 2012 at 1:39pm
Sick of people talking about Juve fixing matches. They were punished for calling referees and telling them off plus interfering with who should be in charge of the matches. NOT matchfixing. Do you hypocrites really think your clubs are 100 % innocent? Being naive and full of prejudices is not just stupid but also being ignorant.
on the 24th November, 2012 at 11:12am
Congratulations Juve, now show the rest of Europe what you are best at and FIX the next match for a draw!

But well played v Chelski.
on the 23rd November, 2012 at 7:33pm
As a Juve fan I am not worried.We are the kind of club that aims to win the entire cup. If we cant get a draw in Ukraine, we are clearly not good enough to go all the way! Like every team (except the winner) we will be disappointed, but we can go away, strengthen the squad and try again next year. That has been the case for Juve at every European Champion's Cup- except 2. If we can qualify for the last 16, it will be a great acheivement, and hopefully we can sign a striker and go very far
on the 23rd November, 2012 at 1:23pm
Just to add, its Marchisio & Vidals job to cover the defenders and go forward as well as protect Pirlo, that's why when they were caught out of position, you saw a 3 on 3 and I don't fault either, their work work rate in midfield is extremely high.

As for those ITV commentators, when Chelsea were 2 goals with 8 minutes to go, Andy said Chelsea still had a chance of scoring 2 goals even though they were deflated LoL...
on the 23rd November, 2012 at 5:46am
on a side note i agree with the comments on ITV they hate Italy and Italian teams in general especially townsand hes always banging on about them they never give much credit keane is the only one that says it how it is hes a honest pundit i like others have seen this for many years on English TV i remember when juventus beat real Madrid in the semi and the adverts on the build up to game was all about Madrid juventus didn't even have a mention lol,they are biased towards English teams
on the 22nd November, 2012 at 9:19pm
Guys guys guys.... This is not even a debate here! Andrea Pirlo is the main man for Juventus, just as he is for Italy and was for AC Milan, he plays in front of the defence and his the battery in the watch that makes everything tick..tick..tick..! With chelsea playing mata oscar hazard there always going to break on the counter and cause problems there quality footballers don't be shocked at them running at you, they will cause many teams problems! As a whole team Juventus need to tighten up!
on the 22nd November, 2012 at 6:54pm
ive watched the game more than once and i tell you what i saw at least twice when juve almost scored the ball was at the other end and buffon was making a save within 15 seconds and this happend on other attacks that broke down as well.he played there for milan but milan played with a back 4 and a diamond midfield in a 3142 system hes the deepest so hes the dm no team in world plays without one conte needs to sort this out because its becoming a problem.
on the 22nd November, 2012 at 6:50pm
Not quite sure what paul & to a lesser extent mike is on about but if it wasn't for Pirlo, Italy wouldn't have made it to the final with Spain.

Pirlo is now 33, do you expect him to be quick like Ronaldo & Messi ? And if you think his job is to cover defenders, then you got the wrong idea & haven't figured him out as yet.

Watch the highlights & see how many passes he made to pick out Asamoah/Litchsteiner on the wings & to Quagliarella/Vucinic through the center...
on the 22nd November, 2012 at 4:23pm
I'm glad that I am not the only one who notices the anti-Italian vibe coming from ITV. I will never forget Andy Townsend's, "I am glad that they are out", comment; after Italy were knocked out of Euro 2004. What is his beef with Italy? It is strange, because I once heard him say on Talksport, that Rome was his favourite city. I do like Roy Keane though. He says what he sees, and doesn't hold back.
on the 22nd November, 2012 at 3:26pm
Manni's point is more than valid the gap is massive you can't have players running at the back 3 like that without cover I'm sorry but the position he plays is a dm if he is or isn't is irelevent that's the position he is playing and he doesn't screen nearly enough Chelsea are not a great team I'd go as far to the team is unbalanced with pirlo playing there, i have no issue with 352 but you need a ball winning mobile dm otherwise your left way to exposed Chelsea could of easy had a 3 3 the other night purely from fast counters a better team would of they didn't even have a forward on the pitch
on the 22nd November, 2012 at 2:06pm
Spain nulified him easily Chelsea also assigned Oscar to mark him but he's a kid you think the better team's in Europe won't do a better job you can't play 3 at the back and have them exposed like that he has to sit more you have 6 players attacking with him sitting he doesn't have to be playing on the opposition penalty area if he isn't a dm he shouldn't be playing there simple as that
on the 22nd November, 2012 at 1:58pm
He defo slows the game down to much and kills a lot of good counters by holding onto the ball or going side ways, risky playing him there in Europe teams have so much more pace and drive than serie a. The position he plays in any other team is a holding midfielder so he should be holding and he doesn't a free role in my book is playing between the opposition midfield and defence not in front of your back four
on the 22nd November, 2012 at 1:49pm
as good as pirlo is Marchisio and vidal need to cover him more, u cant help but feel Marrone needs to be given a chance in this role hes young and will learn his trade his range of passing is good but needs to get better, Pogba too, Pirlo is no spring chicken anymore and has never had pace, hes not a DM! hes a deep lyin playmaker not a ball winner, cant help but feel he does slow the pace down at times. The ball needs to keep moving, striker is a MUST! but hey look we won end of & wooped chelski
on the 22nd November, 2012 at 11:27am
Dont want to rain on anybodys parade here but we havnt qualified YET! we destroyed chelksi and im glad it happend on ITV! still credit is never given when its due to Juve or italian teams. would still have to say the gap between defence and mid is HUGE! Bonucci shouldnt be attempted long passes as chelskis attempts were from his mistakes. If the 3 CB push up we are open to a quick attack! but we have our hunger back and can only improve Forza Juve and well done AC Italy needs you both!
on the 22nd November, 2012 at 11:24am
Juventus played with a back 3 all last season, with Pirlo in front, they won the league unbeaten....? Started this season the same, top of the league again, in europe unbeaten....? Euro2012 v spain first game, Pirlo man of the match assists 1.... V spain second game, man to man with him in midfield and Italy played the last 35mins with 10men against them, so the final is not a fair judgment in my view! Pirlo has to play there its his position just look at his glittering career....!
on the 22nd November, 2012 at 10:58am
Pirlo's legs haven't gone, you could argue that he never had them in the first place. One of the reasons the 352 is used, is to compensate for Pirlo's defensive short-comings, and give him a free role. He isn't an anchor man! My only faults with Pirlo are that he gets caught in possession, dwelling on the ball for too long; or, like last night, passed the ball straight to the opposition, (at least 3 times), sparking dangerous counter attacks.
on the 22nd November, 2012 at 10:47am
Juventus play 3 at the back pirlo is the wrong man as the dm if he can't cover ground it was evident that when Chelsea broke the back 3 looked vulnerable because the dm wasn't doing he's job which is screening in front of them pirlo is clearly the wrong player for this role its to easy to get in behind him especially on a counter because of he's lack of pace just look at the euros against spain
on the 22nd November, 2012 at 8:19am
Spain: 4 teams
Germany: 3 teams
England: 2 & 1/2 (Chelsea ?)
Italy: 1 & 1/2 (Juventus ?)
France: 1
Portugal: 1
Ukraine: 1
on the 22nd November, 2012 at 6:40am
“It was the best moment of my career. Absolutely,” said Mourinho.
“Massimo Moratti had that dream since he was a child. He had fantastic Coaches and fantastic players.

Cannot touch that Juve! no way!
on the 22nd November, 2012 at 6:25am
Not yet guys, Not yet! Ukraine trip is tricky! So hold your horses.Praise once again goes to CONTE,a new style of Italian football.
BONUCCI and CHIELLINI must stop passing the ball forward by skipping the midfield.They never get it right,they are awful passers and 90% of the counters on BUFFON are created from BONUCCI's and CHIELLINI's horrible amateur miss passes!
Moreover,a striker is needed to keep possession not only to score. Quaq's first touch is pathetic and slower than a turtle.
on the 22nd November, 2012 at 5:34am
Great result last night, but the jobs not done yet, I'm sure Juve will qualify but will have to wait 2more weeks. Been watching the main man Pirlo play for years now, he is a DM but not a van bommel type DM, he never has been! Don't expect him to run left right centre covering his defence, he has never played that way before, Pirlo is the deep playing play maker who sets the teams tempo, don't forget in the summer just gone he covered more distance then any other player v england, legs gone? No
on the 22nd November, 2012 at 1:53am
Must admit wanted to wait for the blog in order to congratulate Milan on qualification and a fine performance especially in the second half. So congrats guys now for the other Italian sides in the Europa league hope they all win as well. Having said that i liked Mexes's goal it was a beauty.
on the 22nd November, 2012 at 1:24am
After nearly 10 years of hell in Europe as a Juve fan : Zebina & Emerson, Capello's limp exits to Arsenal and Liverpool, The drubbing by Bayern, the depressing embarrassment of a night at Fulham, and the nightmare reigns of Ferrara and Del Neri. Last night was something very special and a fine platform to build upon. We continued the examples set by AC and Inter in recent European history so well done boys, now don't cock it up. Well done Milan as well tonight.
on the 21st November, 2012 at 10:37pm
Fantastic game! Juve were excellent. We do not need to spend cash on bringing in another striker. 3 goals is a great return against a commited Chelsea team. Atmosphere in the the stadium was also magic, whish I had been there.
Shaktar....we will rip them apart!!
on the 21st November, 2012 at 9:29pm
It's nice to see an Italian team dominate against the English for once. I was really impressed by juve yesterday but I know deep down that juve were at their best, Chelsea were at their worst. The game could easily have been 0-0 bar deflections. How often do teams win the cl on deflections. Juve need to get their act together in the final third. I'm really unsure about Pirlo now he is really poor against fast counter attacking teams. On the plus side, nice 2 c andy Townsend shut his trap
on the 21st November, 2012 at 8:12pm
pirlo really struggles to get back behind the ball a better team would of punished juve on the break and the way juve give away possession so cheaply vucinec and pirlo both culprits last night, quag has to be the most selfish striker in the league and i thought asamoahs first touch was woeful.chelsea might be the holders but they are not a good side and they had players missing,good result but shaktar is not a given and they have pace which will cause juve problems,
on the 21st November, 2012 at 7:11pm

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