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23 Jul 2013

Defences come out on top in TIM Trophy

Juventus dip against Milan before beating Sassuolo as penalties are required to find a winner from two goalless TIM Trophy draws at Reggio Emilia’s Stadio Città del Tricolore

The Bianconeri defence held firm in this evening’s TIM Trophy competition as two goalless draws against Milan and Sassuolo were eventually decided by the lottery of penalties.

Antonio Conte, whose team lost to the Rossoneri before triumphing against the Neroverdi, took the opportunity to hand vital game time to the vast majority of those on pre-season in Chatillon, as well as casting his eye over a variety of tactical combinations ahead of Juventus’ Guinness International Cup debut in San Francisco on Wednesday 31 July.

For the opening fixture against Milan, Conte opted to make just three changes from the starting line-up which debuted in the Bianconeri’s 7-0 win over Rappresentativa Valle d’Aosta. Federico Peluso came in on the left side of the defensive three, while Mauricio Isla and Simone Padoin stepped into midfield.

In attack, Carlos Tevez and Fernando Llorente were again given the opportunity to build on a partnership which showed early signs of promise in Wednesday’s first outing of the season at the Stadio Petrucca.

Conte’s men started strongly and made instant inroads into Milan’s half right from Andrea Gervasoni’s first whistle. Down the other end, Milan strike duo Robinho and Kevin-Prince Boateng worked hard to try and unsettle the three-man Bianconeri rearguard but struggled to find a way past Angelo Ogbonna, a reassuring presence in the heart of defence from start to finish.

Juventus’ first chance of the game fell to Padoin with 14 minutes on the clock. Llorente did well to control Kwadwo Asamoah’s low cross with his back to goal before laying the ball off to the midfielder, who saw his crisply struck effort palmed behind by Christian Abbiati at full stretch.

With the Bianconeri continuing to press high into Milan territory, Llorente almost opened his account in the black and white stripes on 24 minutes, only to turn Isla’s teasing low delivery over the crossbar after shrugging off the attentions of his marker at the far post.

Llorente’s near miss appeared to spark the Rossoneri into life and they were soon presented with the opportunity to break the deadlock when Stephan Lichtsteiner upended Boateng in the penalty area on 28 minutes.

Robinho assumed the responsibility from 12 yards, only to be denied by a magnificent stop from Marco Storari, who dived low to his left to push the ball clear and keep the game on level terms.

With the game beginning to open up as a contest, Llorente saw his evening come to a premature end after coming off worse from an unfortunate collision with Luca Antonini. Mirko Vucinic came on in his place and formed part of a late Juventus assault on the opposition penalty area, but Massimiliano Allegri’s men held firm to send the game to a penalty shootout.

Arturo Vidal, Tevez, Asamoah, Vucinic, Peluso and Paolo De Ceglie all converted from the spot, but Abbiati saved efforts from Lichtsteiner and Padoin to give Milan a 7-6 success which sent them top of the leaderboard with two points.

The second encounter against newly-promoted Serie A outfit Sassuolo, making their TIM Trophy debut in place of traditional participants Inter, saw Conte deploy Fausto Rossi, Alessandro Matri and Vucinic in place of Vidal, Llorente and Tevez respectively.

Despite the Bianconeri starting the stronger of the two sides, Eusebio Di Francesco’s men, inspired by the fleet-footed co-owned Juventus striker Simone Zaza, almost snatched the lead on eight minutes when Jasmin Kurtic’s well placed left-footed strike was expertly turned on to the post by Storari.

Moments later, Matri had the chance to break the deadlock after gliding past Luca Antei’s last-ditch challenge in the penalty area before drawing a strong save from Alberto Pomini.

Sassuolo, however, refused to lie down and Kurtic went close to producing a carbon copy of his earlier effort after wrong-footing De Ceglie at the back post, only to guide his attempt wide of the target.

Conte elected to inject some fresh impetus with 17 minutes gone, introducing Marco Motta and Pol Garcia Tena to the action at the expense of Padoin and De Ceglie. These changes were swiftly followed by the arrivals of Marco Penna, Marcel Buchel, Fabio Quagliarella and Rubinho in place of Lichtsteiner, Peluso, Vucinic and Storari.

The Brazilian goalkeeper, entering his second season with Juventus, soon found himself in the thick of the action, diving low to his left to thwart Emanuele Terranova’s glancing header which arrowed menacingly towards the bottom corner on the half-hour mark.

And Rubinho went on to perform further heroics in the subsqeuent penalty shootout, saving efforts from Marius Alexe, Emanuele Terranova and Domenico Berardi to lift the Bianconeri on to a total of three points in the competition.

JUVENTUS 0-0 MILAN

(6-7 on penalties)

Penalties: Robinho (scored), Vidal (scored), De Jong (scored) Lichtsteiner (saved), Mexes (scored), Tevez (scored), Niang (scored), Asamoah (scored), Nocerino (missed), Vucinic (scored), Bonera (scored), Peluso (scored), Traore (scored), De Ceglie (scored), Zaccardo (scored), Padoin (saved)

JUVENTUS

Storari; Lichtsteiner, Ogbonna, Peluso; Isla, Padoin, Vidal, Asamoah, De Ceglie; Tevez, Llorente (Vucinic 35)

Manager: Conte

MILAN

Abbiati; Antonini (Zaccardo 35), Bonera, Mexes, Costant; Nocerino, De Jong, Traore; Boateng; Niang, Robinho

Manager: Allegri

REFEREE: Gervasoni

ASSISTANTS: Manganelli, Galloni

BOOKED: Lichtsteiner 29

JUVENTUS 0-0 SASSUOLO

(4-3 on penalties)

Penalties: Quagliarella (saved), Zaza (scored), Buchel (scored), Kurtic (scored), Garcia Tena (scored), Alexe (saved), Matri (missed), Missiroli (scored), Vidal (scored), Terranova (saved), Motta (scored), Berardi

(saved)

JUVENTUS

Storari (Rubinho 24); Lichtsteiner (Penna 24), Ogbonna, Peluso (Buchel 28); Isla (Vidal 36), Padoin (Motta 19), Rossi, Asamoah, De Ceglie (Garica Tena 19); Vucinic (Quagliarella 24), Matri

Manager: Conte

SASSUOLO

Pomini; Gazzola, Terranova, Antei, Longhi; Kurtic, Magnanelli, Missoirli; Berardi, Zaza, Alexe

Manager: Di Francesco

REFEREE: Peruzzo

ASSISTANTS: Manganelli, Marzaloni