Reduced to 10 men for over an hour following Gigi Buffon’s sending off, Juventus dug deep in the face of adversity to emerge with a honourable share of the spoils in last night’s 1-1 draw with Lazio.
The red card issued to the goalkeeper for a foul on Miroslav Klose prompted Antonio Conte to reorganise his troops, deploying a flat-back four, three in midfield and Carlos Tevez supporting lone striker Fernando Llorente in a bid to maintain his team’s supremacy on the ball.
And that they did. The numerical deficiency failed to tip the balance in the hosts’ favour, with Juventus ending the affair with a significant advantage – commanding 57.4 per cent possession compared to Lazio’s figure of 42.6, no mean feat when considering the testing conditions and in-form opposition.
Both teams, however, proved an exact match for each other in the final third, registering a total of 11 shots on goal, three of which were on target. Two of these were recorded by Llorente, who tested Etrit Berisha with a neat strike on the swivel in the first half before chalking up his fifth headed Serie A goal of the season when he nodded Stephan Lichtsteiner’s cross home on 60 minutes.
Leading the way in defence was Andrea Barzagli, who topped the Bianconeri’s pass completion index with a figure of 78, over 20 clear of nearest challenger Leonardo Bonucci.
Juventus’ character shone through again last night and reiterated their title as Serie A’s most successful team at overturning losing positions, from which they have now gleaned a total of 14 points this season.
Yesterday’s draw may well have brought a stop to a 12-match winning streak, but Conte will have every reason to be happy with the efforts of his men in responding positively to their midweek Coppa Italia exit at the hands of Roma.