A day for the fans at Villar Perosa

A day for the fans at Villar Perosa
A day for the fans at Villar Perosa
A day for the fans at Villar Perosa

Bianconeri supporters who flocked to Villar Perosa were treated to an afternoon to remember as Paul Pogba’s magnificent first-half strike sealed a 1-0 win for the first team in this afternoon’s traditional pre-season friendly against the Primavera.

After witnessing the Scudetto, Coppa Italia and Super Cup trophies paraded around the ground before kick-off, the 5,000 spectators present at the ground took in a well-contested match, which produced far more chances than the final scoreline suggests.

While Massimiliano Allegri’s men undoubtedly enjoyed the better of the opportunities, the Primavera demonstrated plenty of resolute defending and fine goalkeeping from Emil Audero to thwart Mario Mandzukic once and Simone Zaza twice before Pogba eventually opened the scoring with a superb curled strike from distance four minutes before half-time.

Paulo Dybala came closest to doubling his side’s lead in the second half, as the Bianconeri continued their dominance after the break. With 70 minutes played, referee Luca Pairetto brought down the curtain on an enjoyable afternoon’s entertainment after jubilant supporters rushed onto the field of play for what has now become a customary pitch invasion.

An action-packed encounter from start to finish immediately burst into life inside the opening couple of minutes as the Primavera were forced to clear off their own line after Mandzukic sent a strong header on goal from Kingsley Coman’s dangerous cross.

After that initial scare, however, Fabio Grosso’s young guns gathered their composure and successfully sniffed out the Bianconeri’s subsequent forward forays.

After smothering a long-range drive from Pogba, Audero was forced into another save on 18 minutes, as Zaza shot directly at the young goalkeeper after being fed a neat ball from Mandzukic.

Ten minutes later a lively Kingsley Coman pounced onto a loose ball before racing into the penalty area and arrowing in an effort that the Primavera stopper tipped over the bar for a corner.

With their tails now up, Mattia Vitale, a Primavera regular last year, tried his luck with a well-struck drive from range that Audero did well to get his gloves to.

The 18-year-old would then have the woodwork to thank for keeping the scores level, Zaza striking the post following Fernando Llorente’s knockdown into the summer signing’s path.

The Bianconeri’s pressure eventually paid off in the 41st minute and it would take a stroke of genius from Paul Pogba to open the scoring.

The Frenchman collected the ball on the edge of the penalty box and, cutting in onto his left foot, curled a beautiful shot past Audero to ensure that Allegri’s men entered the break with a slender 1-0 lead.

Eager to add further goals to their tally, Juventus began the second period strongly, with half-time substitute Dybala now pulling the strings in attack.

In the 57th minute the Argentine took the ball splendidly out of the air before hitting narrowly wide of the target. And just six minutes later, he came close again to doubling Juve’s lead with a left-footed effort that sailed just off the mark.

La Joya turned provider moments later, serving Llorente with a cute final ball, but the Spaniard shot straight at Del Favero, who had substituted Audero.

That would prove to be the final move of the match before supporters bid farewell to their heroes for one last time before the action returns in earnest when the Bianconeri host Udinese at Juventus Stadium on Sunday.

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