20.01.2015 15:27 - in: Serie A S

    From August to January… Juve’s season so far (Part I)

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    Juventus.com charts a memorable first half of a Serie A campaign which began with August’s trip to Sunday’s opponents Chievo

    A new era under the stewardship of Massimiliano Allegri was ushered in by a solid 1-0 away win over Chievo on the opening day of the season.

    Summer signing Kingsley Coman took the plaudits and a generous ovation at the Bentegodi for a mature first display in the black and white stripes, but it was an early own goal from Cristiano Biraghi that ensured the Bianconeri’s pursuit of a fourth consecutive Scudetto got off to a winning introduction.

    A return to the comforts of Juventus Stadium against Udinese was next up for the reigning champions, and Allegri marked his home debut by presiding over a comfortable 2-0 success against a new-look Zebrette side under the stewardship of Andrea Stramaccioni.

    Carlos Tevez struck the first of this season’s 13 Serie A goals to date, sweeping Stephan Lichtsteiner’s cut-back home, before Claudio Marchisio made it two with a low drive into the bottom corner. Making their first starts were Patrice Evra and Roberto Pereyra, while Alvaro Morata impressed in the briefest of cameos from the bench.

    Next up was a trip to Allegri’s former side Milan at the San Siro, where ex-Juventus frontman Pippo Inzaghi was enjoying a positive start to life in the Rossoneri dugout after assuming the reins in the summer. His men, though, were second best throughout a lively encounter, with Tevez striking in the second half to earn a deserved victory for the visitors.

    The Bianconeri bandwagon rolled on when Cesena travelled to Turin for the final midweek game of September. Back amongst the goals after a summer on the sidelines was Arturo Vidal, whose two strikes – one of which a penalty – put the hosts firmly on course for a win. Lichtsteiner’s fine angled finish from Simone Padoin’s assist applied the gloss on a positive night’s work.

    Three continued to be the magic number the following Saturday, as Tevez’s brace and Morata’s first goal for the club wrapped up a solid 3-0 away triumph over Atalanta in Bergamo. It wasn’t all plain sailing for the visitors, though, as Gigi Buffon’s penalty save from German Denis with the Bianconeri a mere goal to the good signalled the turning point of a game that the hosts had threatened to get back into.

    An imperious start to the campaign had failed to shrug off the attentions of Roma, whose record ahead of the crunch head-to-head in early October mirrored that of the Bianconeri. It was always destined to be a feisty encounter and after Tevez had opened the scoring from the spot, two goals in quick succession from Francesco Totti and Juan Iturbe intensified the drama at Juventus Stadium.

    After another Tevez penalty had drawn the scores level by half time, both teams continued to push for the winner during the restart. And the pendulum tipped in the Bianconeri’s favour with just four minutes remaining, Leonardo Bonucci unleashing an unstoppable volley that brought the roof off Juventus Stadium.

    Now three points clear of the Giallorossi in the hunt for the Scudetto, Juventus returned to Serie A action following the international break with a trip to Sassuolo. The hosts lifted the Mapei Stadium crowd by taking a shock lead through Bianconeri-owned Simone Zaza on 13 minutes, only for Paul Pogba to level matters six minutes later courtesy of a trademark stunner. With a winner in their sights, the visitors continued to attack but Sassuolo held on to become the first side to claim a point off the Old Lady this season.

    Normal service was resumed the following week courtesy of a routine 2-0 home win over Palermo, with Vidal’s opener on 32 minutes followed up by Fernando Llorente’s first goal of the season, a header from Andrea Pirlo’s corner.

    The midfield wizard was again influential the following weekend, helping the Bianconeri to avenge a last-gasp midweek loss to Genoa by setting them on the way to a 2-0 triumph over newly-promoted Empoli in Tuscany. Putting the result beyond doubt on 72 minutes was Morata, who curled a fine effort beyond Davide Bassi to restore a three-point advantage over Roma and get November off to a winning start.

    To be continued…

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