30.07.2014 23:03 - in: Friendlies S

    All square in Cesena

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    Massimiliano Allegri hands playing time to the returning international contingent in this evening’s goalless stalemate at the Dino Manuzzi

    The Bianconeri continued their countdown to the start of the Serie A campaign with a 0-0 draw against Cesena in this evening’s friendly encounter at the Stadio Dino Manuzzi.

    Over the course of a tightly-fought workout in which clear-cut goalscoring opportunities were few and far between, Massimiliano Allegri took the opportunity to hand playing time to the majority of the international contingent who linked up with their team-mates in Vinovo just two days ago.

    Welcomed out by a Dino Manuzzi in full voice, Juventus, deployed in a 3-5-2 formation, enjoyed long spells of possession from the very first whistle as they patiently probed for a way beyond the Cesena rearguard.

    They fashioned their first opportunity of the game on four minutes, Andrea Pirlo drawing a decent save from Bianconeri-owned goalkeeper Nicola Leali after being teed up on the edge of the area by Sebastian Giovinco.

    New signing Roberto Pereyra, operating on the left-hand side of a central midfield three, provided a lively presence on his first start for the club, frequently looking to break beyond his marker into the box as the Bianconeri upped the tempo in search of an opener.

    The hosts, now back in the big time after a tremendous end of season surge earned them promotion via the Serie B playoffs, stuck to their task and responded to Pirlo’s early effort with a long-range strike of their own, Grégoire Defrel forcing Marco Storari to tip a fierce drive over the top on 25 minutes.

    These remained the only two strikes of note during a closely contested first half that drew to a close without further opportunities for either side.

    The start of the second period heralded six changes from Allegri, who introduced Martin Caceres, Luca Marrone and Angelo Ogbonna in a revamped back three, whilst also taking the opportunity to cast his eye over Simone Pepe, Claudio Marchisio and Kwadwo Asamoah in midfield.

    Joining them at the midway point of the restart were Leonardo Spinazzola and Kingsley Coman, who replaced Peyreyra and Giovinco respectively.

    During his 20-minute cameo, the French midfielder, a summer capture from PSG, treated the travelling faithful to glimpses of his ability, which came courtesy of some neat touches and bright link-up play.

    As the clock began to tick down towards the final whistle, Allegri made two further changes, handing Primavera duo Sergio Buenacasa and Mattia Vitale the chance to shine at the expense of Fernando Llorente and Marco Motta.

    The manager will be satisfied with the way the returning internationals acquitted themselves in their first test following the summer holidays, and will look to build on the positive work carried out so far over pre-season when the team depart for the start of their Asia-Pacific tour on Sunday afternoon.   

    Juventus line-up: Storari, Sorensen (Caceres 45), Bonucci (Marrone 45), Chiellini (Ogbonna 45), Lichtsteiner (Pepe 45), Padoin (Asamoah 45), Pirlo (Marchisio 45), Pereyra (Spinazzola 67), Motta (Vitale 81), Giovinco (Coman 67), Llorente (Buenacasa 81).

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