The most recent meeting between Juventus and Catania at the home of the Bianconeri was one of the most exciting in history, decided in the very dying moments by a player who had entered the fray just 15 minutes earlier.
Antonio Conte’s decision to bring on goalscorer Emanuele Giaccherini in place of Kwadwo Asamoah turned out to be an inspired move, the latest in a series of occasions on which a player has come off the bench to influence a clash between the two sides in Turin.
The first time came midway through the 1970/71 season, when the fourth goal in a 5-0 thrashing of the Rossazzurri was provided by Franco Causio after coming on in place of Helmut Haller.
More important to the final result was the contribution of Catania’s Gianvito Plasmati in 2008/09. With Claudio Ranieri’s Juve in front going into half time thanks to a goal from Amauri, the then-coach of the Sicilians Walter Zenga made the move of introducing the Italian in place of Cristian Llama.
And Plasmati turned out to be a super sub, guiding the ball beyond Alexander Manninger to draw the Rossazzurri level.
The next year, too, it was players coming off the bench who had important roles in the final score. First it was Hasan Salihamidzic (entering in place of Felipe Melo) who made it 1-1, before Mariano Izco (coming on for Pablo Ledesma) became the second substitute to weigh in with a crucial contribution when his goal handed the visitors victory.
It happened yet again in 2010/11, when Francesco Lodi clinched a 2-2 draw in the very last second with an unstoppable free-kick after Ledesma had again made way.
But perhaps the most important substitution in a clash with Catania was made in 1983/84, though this time it happened naturally during the game; a change that was out of manager Giovanni Trappatoni’s hands.
With principal goalscoring threat Michel Platini out of the starting line-up due to injury, in the end it was defender Gaetano Scirea who assumed the role of the great Frenchman as he stepped up to score a double that was hailed by the next day’s newspapers as a brace Platini himself would have been proud of.