It has been a long journey of recovery for Simone Pepe, who last played 90 minutes in a Bianconeri shirt against Siena on Sunday 11 November 2012, but this afternoon he returned to Juve action for the Primavera with a bang: a goal and an assist for the team’s second strike meant he was the decisive man in the 2-1 victory.
After a brief further appearance for the first team against Lazio on 17 November 2012, he suffered an injury layoff characterised by continual, devastating bad luck that also saw the Roma-born winger undergo surgery. Now, though, those problems are all behind him.
He has been back in training with the squad after finishing his individual workouts for ten days now, but the full game that he played this afternoon was the first time that he had taken to the field since his injury.
It was an excellent performance all round. First he provided the assist for Matteo Gerbaudo, before sliding in to slot home a cross fired in from the left with just a handful of minutes to go until the final whistle.
But the most important thing was his completion of the full 90 minutes, even if it was something of a necessity after injuries to other members of Andrea Zanchetta’s side in a game played at a high level of intensity against players who were certainly not giving him any special treatment.
Speaking after the final whistle, Pepe confided his satisfaction to Juventus.com. He said: “I’m happy with how it went. I wanted to play the full 90 minutes and I achieved that aim. Physically I felt very good, even when the game became more stretched. I’d like to thank the manager, Fabio Grosso and all the lads for the opportunity that they’ve given me.”