Juventus
    15.06.2015 15:35 - in: The team S

    Tests of character!

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    Away trips to Lazio and Malmo provide the hurdles for the Bianconeri as November veers towards its conclusion

    As the final international break of 2014 drew to a close in late November, Massimiliano Allegri’s Juventus were looking to pick up where they left off, having previously claimed three consecutive victories in all competitions at the start of the month.

    Lazio provided the stern opposition for the reigning champions at the Stadio Olimpico, a team who had vanquished each of their last three adversaries on home turf leading up to the match-up.

    The Biancocelesti began brightly in the early exchanges, looking to take the game to the Old Lady, but ultimately had no answer to the visitors’ ruthless killer instinct in the final third, with two classic counter attacks either side of the interval putting them in the driving seat.

    Midfield dynamo Paul Pogba opened the scoring midway through the first period, collecting a sparkling Carlos Tevez pass before firing past Federico Marchetti, with the Argentine then doubling Juventus’ advantage moments after the restart when he curled home from the edge of the area.

    Lazio then poured forward in search of halving the deficit, but the gaps left in behind presented Pogba an opportunity to put the game beyond any doubt on 63 minutes.

       

    A fine move involving Andrea Pirlo and Roberto Pereyra enabled the latter to thread a fantastic through ball to the Frenchman who then finished with aplomb for his second-all time Bianconeri brace.

    After 12 Serie A encounters played, the reigning champions had 31 points to their name, three more than closest challengers Roma, and were starting to turn the screw with regards to the title race.

    The league victory in the capital, described by boss Allegri in his #Tlk2Max session as the performance of the season earlier this year, served as perfect preparation for a Champions League midweek trip to Malmo.

    And Juventus knew that anything other than a victory in Sweden could prove to be a significant dent in their aspirations to qualify for the last 16 stage of Europe’s elite competition.

    With a heavy playing surface at the Swedbank Stadion hampering the Bianconeri’s passing game, the players initially struggled to stamp their authority but dug deep in the second half to return home to Italy as worthy winners.

    Fernando Llorente it was who broke the deadlock just after the half-time break, the Spaniard latching on to Claudio Marchisio’s raking pass before rounding goalkeeper Robert Olsen and tapping home.

    The success in Sweden was sealed two minutes from the end when Tevez struck into the  bottom corner from the edge of the box after receiving Pogba’s square ball.

    Olympiacos’ 4-0 defeat to Atletico Madrid coupled with Juventus’ result meant they only needed a point from the Spaniards’ visit to Turin in early December to prolong their Champions League journey.

    European matters attended to, now it was time for a mouthwatering Derby della Mole encounter against arch-rivals Torino at Juventus Stadium.

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