First-half strikes from the South American duo reignite the Bianconeri’s Scudetto defence in this afternoon’s comfortable 2-0 triumph against the Rossoblu
First-half goals from Arturo Vidal and Carlos Tevez enabled the Bianconeri to keep pace with Serie A leaders Roma in this afternoon’s confident 2-0 victory over Genoa at Juventus Stadium.
Eager to return to winning ways following two consecutive defeats, Antonio Conte’s men were dominant from start to finish and deservedly breathed new life into their Scudetto defence with a controlled display and clean sheet in Turin.
Heavy pressure from the offset eventually reaped rewards when Vidal struck home from the spot on 23 minutes, while Tevez combined his close control and killer instinct to give the hosts breathing space 13 minutes later.
Having hinted at the prospect of rotation in yesterday’s pre-match press conference, Conte kept to his word by making three changes to the starting line-up that performed admirably in Madrid on Wednesday night.
Leonardo Bonucci was reinstated at the heart of the three-man defence in place of Angelo Ogbonna, while Mauricio Isla and Kwadwo Asamoah were deployed on the flanks at the expense of Martin Caceres and Claudio Marchisio respectively.
In yesterday’s meeting with the media, Conte took the opportunity to issue a rallying cry to both his team and supporters, calling on them to rediscover their hunger and intensity that had propelled the club to back-to-back Scudetto titles.
And his plea clearly struck a chord with both intended targets, with the Bianconeri, back in a 3-5-2 system, making an aggressive start to proceedings in front of a vociferous capacity crowd at Juventus Stadium.
After Fernando Llorente had glanced Kwadwo Asamoah’s early cross wide of the target, the Spanish frontman then prodded the ball through to an unmarked Paul Pogba, who was unable to get his shot away under pressure from Rossoblu shotstopper Mattia Perin with 11 minutes played.
Chances continued to come thick and fast for the rampant hosts. Two minutes after Pogba was denied, Llorente then found himself with a glorious chance to turn Tevez’s parried strike over the line, only to be thwarted by Perin’s sharp reflexes.
With Genoa retreating increasingly further towards their own goal, Juventus maintained their ruthless assault on enemy territory. Next to try his luck was Arturo Vidal, who saw his fierce 25-yard drive cannon back off the crossbar with Perin motionless.
But the Chilean wasn’t left to rue his misfortune for too much longer as Davide Biondini’s foul on Kwadwo Asamoah presented him with the perfect opportunity to put the hosts in front on 23 minutes.
It was an occasion Vidal gleefully accepted, dispatching a crisp strike into the top corner before taking the plaudits of his team-mates.
Supremacy established, Juventus, continually urged on by Conte from the touchline, stuck to their attacking mantra and could have instantly strengthened their grip on the game through midfield wizard Andrea Pirlo, who saw his close range shot saved after outfoxing the Genoa backline with a cute dummy.
A moment of Tevez magic enabled the Bianconeri to double their lead on 36 minutes, with the Argentine producing a neat change of direction in a congested penalty area before crashing an unstoppable left-footed shot home for his fifth Serie A goal of the campaign.
A ravenous Juventus began the second half in very much the same vein as the first, committing bodies forward at every available opportunity and spending long spells of the restart camped out in enemy territory.
Goal number three appeared to have arrived when Tevez’s fiercely struck shot was followed up by Llorente, only for Perin to remain on top of his personal duel with the Pamplona-born frontman by producing a spectacular diving save from point blank range on 48 minutes.
The early flurry of second half activity then gave way to a period of sustained Juventus possession as they comfortably prevented any potential Genoa counter attacks with precise passing and movement.
In truth, further opportunities were few and far between as the Rossoblu opted for damage limitation by placing plenty of bodies behind the ball. Vidal could have doubled his individual tally when sent through by Tevez, but had his shot smothered by Perin, while Llorente fired over after working himself into a promising position on 71 minutes.
Roma’s late winner over Udinese means the Bianconeri were unable to gain ground on Rudi Garcia’s early pace-setters, but the confident manner of this afternoon’s triumph will give them every hope of picking up another vital three points when Catania travel to Turin on Wednesday evening.