Juventus Women

Bianconere secure first leg advantage!

Bianconere secure first leg advantage!
Bianconere secure first leg advantage!
Bianconere secure first leg advantage!

Juventus Women moved one step closer to a spot in the Coppa Italia semi-finals after a dramatic first leg quarter-final away to Empoli saw the Bianconere fight back more than once to secure a 5-4 win. Empoli secured a 3-1 advantage going into the break courtesy of a Glionna hat-trick, but second half goals from Zamanian, Girelli and Salvai ensured a turnaround in favour of Juventus. 

Rita Guarino’s girls got off to a fast start in Empoli creating a hatful of chances in the opening minutes! With seconds on the clock Andrea Staskova got a sight of goal from an early corner only for the finish to go high and wide. Barbara Bonansea was the first Bianconera to then really test Empoli’s goalkeeper as her dangerous cross-cum-shot forced Noemi Fedele into a fine save. Bonansea went close again on 16 minutes as her angled drive narrowly flashed past the back post. 

Despite the increasing Bianconere pressure it was to be the hosts who would draw first blood on 37 minutes. Ex-Bianconera, Benedetta Glionna stepped up and curled a fine free-kick into the back of the Bianconere net, leaving Doris Bacic with no chance. However, just minutes later Juve rallied to find a quick equaliser. Sofie Pedersen released a super ball to Lisa Boattin making the long charge up the left-hand side to unleash a rocket into the roof of the Empoli goal to tie things up. There was to be another sting in the tail just before half-time however, and once again it was the former Juve forward, Glionna, who fired another fantastic free-kick past Bacic to restore the home side’s lead going into the break.

Into the second half and Empoli started in the same manner in which they ended: with a goal and a hat-trick for Gilonna off yet another free-kick, which saw Bacic fail to hold onto the ball as it fell over the line. Boattin nearly repeated her feat from the first half, only to have Fedele turn it around the post.

Pedersen needed to be substituted off after taking a blow to the head from Bellucci, seeing Cernoia come on in her place while Hurtig took Maria Alves’ spot. The Bianconere were applying the pressure and going in search of a second goal, and they got it in the 68th minute through a stunning Zamanian strike. Boattin rolled the ball across to the No.19, who struck on the edge of the D to loop the ball between goalkeeper and crossbar into the back of the net. Girelli immediately came on in her place to add more firepower upfront, and she made an almost immediate impact but not before goals were shared on either end.

Empoli extended their lead to 4-2 when they broke through on the counter: Dompig saw her first effort denied by Bacic, but she got onto the rebound and there was nothing the Croatian could do about it. Guarino’s charges responded quickly though, with two goals in the space of a minute: a corner was floated into the box, it ping-ponged around before Staskova was the quickest to react and sent it over the line. Next up was Girelli, who, as per usual, got onto the end of an aerial ball and nodded past the keeper to make it 4-4!

Juventus’ comeback was made complete in the 88th minute and in dramatic fashion. Cernoia, who was influential in helping turn the game around since her introduction, curled the ball into the box off a free-kick and it found Salvai, who nodded it into the back of the net to secure an away victory.

Juventus XI: Bacic; Lundorf, Gama, Salvai, Boattin; Rosucci, Pedersen (Cernoia 59’), Zamanian (Girelli 68’); Maria Alves (Hurtig 59’), Staskova, Bonansea

Bench: Giuliani, Hyyrynen, Sembrant, Giordano, Cernoia, Giai, Berti, Girelli, Hurtig

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