The Bianconeri continue their unbeaten start to the season after battling back from a goal behind to earn all three points against Chievo. Fabio Quagliarella and an Alessandro Bernadini own goal overturn Cyril Thereau’s first-half opener
The Bianconeri’s never-say-die attitude was again out in full force as they overturned Cyril Thereau’s first-half opener to record a merited 2-1 victory over Chievo thanks to Fabio Quagliarella’s equaliser and an Alessandro Bernardini own goal.
In spite of a strong opening at the Bentegodi, Juventus found themselves playing catch up for the fourth game in succession after Thereau guided the ball past Gigi Buffon with 28 minutes on the clock.
But an emphatic start to the second-half set the visitors on course to stretch their unbeaten introduction to the 2013/14 season. Quagliarella, making his 250th Serie A appearance, showed plenty of determination in the penalty area to restore parity on 48 minutes, before Bernardini turned Paul Pogba’s inviting delivery past his own goalkeeper shortly past the hour mark.
Having vowed to continue rotating his starting line-up with one eye on Sunday’s derby and next week’s Champions League clash with Galatasaray, Antonio Conte made five changes to his selection from the 2-1 win over Hellas Verona.
Buffon returned between the posts in place of Marco Storari and Giorgio Chiellini came in alongside Angelo Ogbonna, making his third consecutive start in the black and white stripes, at the expense of Leonardo Bonucci.
Elsewhere, Claudio Marchisio continued his comeback by replacing Arturo Vidal, Federico Peluso came in for Kwadwo Asamoah on the left-hand side of midfield and Fabio Quagliarella was chosen to partner Fernando Llorente up front as Carlos Tevez dropped to the bench.
Juventus began brightly and enjoyed significant spells of possession in the opposition half, often using the wing play of Mauricio Isla and particularly Peluso as useful sources for eventual deliveries into the box.
This particular tactic almost worked to perfection when the former Atalanta defender picked out Pogba’s late arrival into the penalty area on 19 minutes, with the Frenchman’s powerful header narrowly clearing the crossbar.
As predicted by Conte in the build-up to the game, Chievo, looking to follow up Saturday’s first win of the season over Udinese with another positive performance, aimed to mirror the Bianconeri by abandoning their traditional 4-4-2 approach in favour of a 3-5-2 system.
For all the visitors’ dominance in the opening stages of the encounter, signs of the Gialloblu’s tactical reshuffle working to their advantage gradually came to the fore, with Llorente and Quagliarella limited to half chances as a compact defence held firm.
And Juventus were made to pay the price for their inability to find a way through when Chievo snatched the lead on 28 minutes, Thereau bringing the home faithful to their feet with a neat half-volley from the edge of the area that nestled in the bottom corner.
The Gialloblu’s advantage encouraged greater urgency from those in the black and white stripes, with a trademark Quagliarella piledriver stinging the gloves of Christian Puggioni before the goalkeeper found himself well positioned to gather Llorente’s far post header.
Juventus emerged galvanised for the restart and immediately got themselves back on level terms after Quagliarella was denied twice from point blank range before eventually forcing the ball over the line for his second goal in as many starts.
An already feisty opening to the second half was made even more dramatic when Buffon immediately picked the ball out of the back of his net after Alberto Paloschi had followed up to good effect, only for the linesman to rule the forward’s effort out for offside.
The early scare failed to halt the Bianconeri’s regained momentum which built even further as the half wore on. Marchisio was next to go close, wriggling free of his marker before dispatching a venomous attempt which was pushed over by Puggioni, while Chiellini also tried his luck having broken forward into an advanced position, but the Gialloblu shotstopper again proved equal to it.
Yet there was little the goalkeeper could do about the events which led to Juventus taking the lead as, under pressure from Llorente at the back post, Bernardini turned Pogba’s teasing cross into his own net on 65 minutes.
The introductions of Stephan Lichtsteiner, Carlos Tevez and Arturo Vidal at varying stages of the second half brought increased energy to the ranks and helped take the sting out of any potential Chievo revival.
The final whistle sparked scenes of celebration as Conte joined his troops on the pitch to hail another important test of character passed with flying colours. But the manager will spend little time reflecting on his side’s fourth Serie A victory in five, instead choosing to focus his efforts on another fundamental test, Sunday’s derby with inter-city rivals Torino.