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16 Sep 2012

Juve resilience shines through in Genova

A superb second-half fightback, inspired by substitutes Vucinic and Asamoah, extends Juve’s winning start to the season. 3-1 the final score in Liguria

Mirko Vucinic and Kwadwo Asamoah came off the bench to inspire a second-half fightback as Juventus battled from a goal down to register a 3-1 win over Genoa.

The Bianconeri struggled to find their rhythm in a frenetic first half and found themselves behind when Immobile tapped home on 18 minutes. But a spirited second-half showing, sparked by the introductions of Vucinic and Asamoah, tipped the balance in the visitors’ favour.

A fine Giaccherini strike levelled matters, Vucinic then put Juve in front from the spot and Asamoah made the points safe with five minutes remaining to preserve Juventus’ winning start to the season.

It was a significantly changed side that took to the field at the Luigi Ferraris, with Antonio Conte electing to shuffle his pack ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League bow against Chelsea. Caceres, Giaccherini, De Ceglie and Matri came in for their first starts of the season as Lichtsteiner, Vidal, Asamoah and Vucinic dropped to the bench.

Massimo Carrera had previously warned the Bianconeri to expect a tough test against a plucky Genoa outfit, and Luigi De Canio’s men, backed by a passionate home crowd, kept to the script by putting their visitors under a significant spell of pressure in the opening stages.

Half-chances fell to the feet of Borriello and Jankovic before a defence splitting pass sent Immobile one-one-one with Buffon. The striker, however, was unable to keep his composure and rolled a tame shot wide of the target.

Redemption arrived just minutes later. Immobile and Bertolacci exchanged passes outside the area before the former Juve frontman elected to pull the trigger, squeezing the ball in between Buffon’s despairing dive and the post for his second goal of the season on 17 minutes.

Faced with an uphill task, Juventus remained patient and began to settle into their passing game. Good work from Giovinco, who cleverly peeled off his marker to connect with Pirlo’s low corner, almost got the visitors back on level terms, but the former Parma man blazed his attempt over the bar.

Matri also went close towards the end of the first half, but, like Giovinco, was unable work the goalkeeper from a promising angle.  

The start of the second half yielded a much sharper and purposeful Bianconeri display. And when Giovinco embarked on a mazy run before stroking a delicately placed effort goalwards, it seemed that Carrera’s half time words had paid instant dividends. But the diminutive frontman was left to rue his misfortune as the ball cannoned back off the post.

The turning point of the game arrived on 60 minutes. Having rattled the woodwork with Borriello’s header a few minutes earlier, Genoa went a whisker away from doubling their advantage. Bertolacci found the ball at his feet in the area but Buffon was sharp off his line to thwart the former Roma man’s instinctive attempt.

Undeterred, Juventus broke with pace on the counter and saw their persistence pay off when Giaccherini curled an unstoppable strike past a motionless Frey after being teed up by substitute Vucinic.

With just under half an hour to win it, the Bianconeri, galvanised by the introductions of Asamoah and Vucinic, attacked with menace.  

And after the Montenegrin had made his presence felt by laying on the first goal, it was soon Asamoah’s turn to make an impact.

With 78 minutes on the clock, the Ghanaian’s silky skills proved too much for Sampirisi, who sent him tumbling with a clumsy challenge in the box.  Rocchi was left with no option but to point to the spot, and Vucinic held his nerve to tuck his low penalty beyond Frey’s grasp.

The points were made safe when Asamoah reacted first to Vucinic’s deflected centre and turned the ball over the line with four minutes remaining.

GENOA 1-3 JUVENTUS

GOALS: Immobile 18, Giaccherini 61, Vucinic 78, Asamoah 84

GENOA
Frey; Sampirisi (Ferronetti 79), Canini, Bovo (Ganqvist 67), Antonelli (Melazzi 82); Kucka, Seymour, Bertolacci; Jankovic, Borriello, Immobile.
Substitutes not used: Tzorvas, Moretti, Merkel, Toszer, Stillo, Piscitella, Anselmo, Jorquera.
Coach: De Canio

JUVENTUS
Buffon; Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini; Caceres (Lichtsteiner 76), Giaccherini, Pirlo, Marchisio, De Ceglie (Asamoah 55); Giovinco, Matri (Vucinic 55).
Substitutes not used: Storari, Rubinho, Lucio, Marrone, Vidal, Isla, Pogba, Bendtner, Quagliarella.
Coach: Carrera

REFEREE: Rocchi
ASSISTANTS: Di Fiore, Giordano
FOURTH OFFICIAL: Preti

BOOKED: Immobile 18, Pirlo 25, Bonucci 43, Canini 63, Barzagli 69