Juventus
    Juventus
      23.06.2015 18:33 - in: The team S

      The Coppa Italia dream goes on

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      Wins over Genoa and Empoli are followed by a fabulous night in Florence, where Juventus overturn Fiorentina’s first-leg lead to book their place in the Coppa Italia final

      Another superb Carlos Tevez strike stretched the Bianconeri’s lead at the top of Serie A to 17 points with a Sunday afternoon 1-0 triumph over Genoa on 22 March.

      Twenty-five minutes were on the clock when the Argentine picked up from where  he  left  off during the week in Dortmund, producing another moment of magic with an explosive run and right-footed shot that left Mattia Perin with no chance.

      Tevez  had  the chance to extend both his own personal tally and the Bianconeri’s  lead when Roberto Pereyra was tripped in the box by Facundo Roncaglia  on  the hour mark, only for substitute Genoa goalkeeper to guess correctly and deny him from the spot.

      Buoyed  by  that  reprieve,  the  Rossoblu pushed for an equaliser during a finale  to the game that set nerves jangling, but the hosts managed to ride out  a  late  surge to sign off for the international break with their 12th home league win of the season.

      Reflecting on the success and clean sheet, Giorgio Chiellini said: “It was an important game and the most difficult after an important run of fixtures in these last two to three weeks. We knew we would have to dig deep against a strong side with plenty of energy.”

      Tevez was back on the scoresheet when the Bianconeri returned from the international break on 4 April, joining fellow Argentine Pereyra amongst the goals as Juventus saw in April with a 2-0 triumph over Empoli in Turin.

      After seeing several chances come and go throughout the course of the first half, Tevez made no mistake when invited to convert Arturo Vidal’s indirect free-kick from six yards, gleefully lashing home for his 17th Serie A strike of the campaign with 43 minutes on the clock.

      Empoli grew in stature during the second half and Juventus had Gigi Buffon to thank for preserving the three points, with several top saves denying the plucky visitors a share of the spoils.

      But the final outcome was put beyond any doubt just seconds from the final whistle, when substitute Pereyra arrived first on the scene to convert Tevez’s blocked effort.

      At the final whistle, Tevez spoke of the Bianconeri’s need to keep racking up the points throughout the final straight: “Before tonight’s game Roma showed they were still alive and kicking. We mustn’t ease off and need to keep working until we’re mathematically confirmed as champions.”

      Three days later it was down to Florence for the decisive Coppa Italia semi-final second leg against Fiorentina.

      Trailing 2-1 from the first leg, Massimiliano Allegri warned his men of the difficulties of an away tie at the Artemio Franchi but it was the hosts who bore the brunt of a Bianconeri backlash on a memorable night for the Serie A reigning champions.

      Alessandro Matri got the ball rolling on 21 minutes, remaining the coolest customer in a packed penalty area to slot home his first goal since returning to Juventus at the end of the January transfer window.

      Moments ahead of the break, the visitors tipped the tie back in their favour when Pereyra arrived first on the scene to lash home after Neto had pushed Alvaro Morata’s strike directly into the Argentine’s path.

      Two became three shortly before the hour mark when Leonardo Bonucci crashed an unstoppable volley past Neto after peeling off his marker to devastating effect.

      The centre-back’s goal proved to be the final nail in Fiorentina’s coffin, enabling the Bianconeri to safeguard a Coppa Italia final spot courtesy of a 4-2 aggregate scoreline.

      Full of praise for his men following a sensational display, Allegri remarked: “It wasn’t easy to win in Florence against an excellent Fiorentina side who found it tough today. Credit to the lads.

      “Seasons are decided at this particular moment in time. We’re in decent shape from a fitness point of view, hats off to the coaches who get the lads in the right condition. We’ve also improved our play and now move the ball around quicker.”

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