How Juve won La Decima
Massimiliano Allegri rang in the changes for the Bianconeri’s last 16 encounter at home to Hellas Verona in mid-January, with Stephan Lichtsteiner, Leonardo Bonucci, Claudio Marchisio and Paul Pogba the only players remaining in the starting line-up from the previous week’s draw in Serie A with Inter.
Featuring in a front three were Alvaro Morata, flanked by Simone Pepe, making his return from a long-term injury, and Sebastian Giovinco. The latter enjoyed a particularly fruitful evening, which began with him opening the scoring with a fifth-minute free-kick.
Juventus’ second goal was perhaps the pick of the bunch, as Roberto Pereyra latched on to Lichtsteiner’s forward pass before putting the ball between his marker’s legs and chipping delightfully over Rafael.
On the stroke of half-time, Giovinco grabbed his second of the evening, arriving quickly into the box to get on the end of Lichtsteiner’s centre, the Swiss already providing his second assist.
Eight minutes after the restart, Pogba bundled home to make it four and practically make sure of qualification to the next round. Nene pulled one back for the visitors shortly afterwards, but on 63 minutes the Bianconeri would re-establish their four-goal advantage when Morata stepped up to convert from the spot after Giovinco was brought down in the box.
Five strikes became six for the hosts in the match’s closing stages, Kingsley Coman rifling home from range to cap off a thoroughly entertaining evening in front of a capacity crowd at Juventus Stadium.
Quarter-final: Parma 0 Juventus 1 (28 January 2015)
Massimiliano Allegri had warned against underestimating Parma in the build-up to their quarter-final date in Reggio Emilia and he was vindicated in his words, as the game would hinge on Morata’s 89th minute goal.
In a match of few clear-cut chances, Pepe struck the post moments before the interval with a menacing cross whipped into the box, which would bounce out into the direction of Arturo Vidal, whose effort from outside the box sailed narrowly over the crossbar.
Claudio Marchisio also came close to breaking the deadlock when his shot was deflected over by Fabiano Santacroce.
With the match seemingly destined to go to extra-time, Juventus’ Spanish pairing of Fernando Llorente and Morata, who had come on shortly before for Coman, swung into action, the former playing the latter in behind the defence to prod home in front of the elated away support, who made the journey back home celebrating their side’s passage to the semi-finals.
Semi-finals: Juventus 4 Fiorentina 2 (1st leg: 5 March; 2nd leg: 7 April 2015)
A semi-final that will live long in the memory for the phenomenal fightback from a losing position after the opening match in Turin to emerge 4-2 victors on aggregate thanks to the perfect team performance carried out in Florence’s Artemio Franchi Stadium.
Mohamed Salah had given the Viola a 2-1 first-leg lead with two well-taken goals either side of Llorente’s headed equaliser, leaving the Bianconeri with the toughest of tests to turn the tables in Tuscany.
Given a starting berth in the competition following his return to Juventus on loan from Milan, Alessandro Matri levelled the overall score after pouncing on the loose ball spinning in his direction following Pereyra’s blocked shot.
It would be the Argentine to hand his side an aggregate lead for the very first time across the two games, as he bursted onto the scene to stroke home after Neto got his gloves to Morata’s initial attempt.
Vincenzo Montella’s Viola fought back to create some opportunities of their own after the interval, but too often failed to find the target – something which Bonucci successful located down the other end of the pitch just shy of the hour-mark.
In the build-up to the decisive corner, the defender did brilliantly to evade his marker in the box before shooting low to Neto’s left, and from there the Bianconeri never looked back.
The lively Matri brought a smart save out of the hosts’ Brazilian stopper, now of course a Juve player, as Allegri’s men made sure of the victory and marched on determinedly into the final, knowing that they were now just one step away from a writing a new chapter in both the club’s and competition’s history.
Final: Juventus 2 Lazio 1 aet (20 May 2015)
With the finals traditionally played in Rome’s Stadio Olimpico, Lazio were keen to take advantage of playing on home turf and inflicted the worst possible start on the Bianconeri when Stefan Radu’s fourth-minute opener had Biancocelesti fans dreaming of a second Coppa Italia success in three seasons.
Just seven minutes later, however, Juventus were back on level terms. As happened so often during his four years in the black and white, Andrea Pirlo’s free-kick was behind the move and Patrice Evra leapt brilliantly to provide the cushion header into the box, to which Giorgio Chiellini showed the fastest reactions of anyone, wrapping his foot around the ball and lashing past a helpless Etrit Berisha.
Over the course of an edgy second 45 minutes, with both sides constrained by caution given the prize at stake, Juve thought they had taken the lead when substitute Matri poked Pirlo’s inviting pass into the back of the net, only to see his effort chalked off for offside.
It would then be the Bianconeri’s turn to draw a huge sigh of relief when Lazio forward Filip Djordjevic’s strike bounced back off both posts. With Stefano Pioli’s men cursing their luck, Allegri’s charges, sensing that this was to be their night, stepped up their search for a winner.
And they duly got the all-important goal as Matri swept past Berisha six minutes into extra-time to spark scenes of unbridled joy among all those clad in black and white in the capital.