02 July 2022
Most of the players are currently focused on the European Championships in England, where a Juve contingent is ready to make an impact. But the new season for Juventus Women is just around the corner - the first official match is on August 18 in UWCL against Racing FC Union Luxembourg.
So, before throwing ourselves headlong into the challenges that await, let's take a step back and relive the unforgettable season just concluded.
Three dates that marked three beginnings:
8 June 2021 - Joseph Montemurro named as Juventus Women coach.
8 July 2021 - The start of pre-season.
18 August 2021 - The first official match.
At that moment, very few imagined what joy the year would bring. Even though the previous season had ended with a fourth consecutive league title built on the back of an incredible winning streak, any enthusiasm was accompanied by an awareness of how difficult it could be to repeat such an achievement. Also, there was the great unknown factor of the first change of tactical leadership in the history of the club. But there was the hunger to perform from the new arrivals twinned with the desire to keep on writing black and white history despite all the success accumulated so far.
The hectic fixture list did not allow for too much time to dwell on what was going to be. On August 18 at Vinovo, Women's Champions League qualifiers raised the curtain on the season. Kamenica Sasa were dispatched without too much fuss and even the final of the first round, against St. Pölten, saw Juve come through unscathed. The second round, with the promise of access to the first-ever Group Stages of UWCL, was overcome by defeating Vllaznia both home and away.
Women | Highlights UWCL | Juventus-Vllaznia
THE LEAGUE CAMPAIGN
Not long after, the title defence was soon underway. There were many important points to be earned on a journey destined to end with another scudetto, the fifth in a row. It all started with a 3-0 success against Pomigliano at home, through goals from Martina Rosucci and a brace from Arianna Caruso. The path to victory was made up of the building blocks of apparently simple victories and more complicated obstacles overcome. The Bianconere were relentless.
Some wins proved over time to be more important, even decisive, than could have been imagined at that moment. One such example? A 2-1 triumph at Roma, with Rosucci again and Andrea Staskova on target.
Apparently simple steps, but the need not to underestimate any opponent for even a second of the season was essential, and quality made the difference, for example when Valentina Cernoia struck the only goal in a narrow win at Sampdoria.
It was not all plain sailing. There were some difficult moments when things didn't work out as planned, moments when team spirit outweighed any other factor. The match that interrupted the winning streak, at home to Fiorentina, proved to be such an example. Trailing by two goals, the Bianconere stuck to their guns, and leveled the score to collect an important point and maintain top spot.
The battle to keep contenders Roma at bay continued, point by point, until the final match of the season, when at the end, still head of the pack were Juventus Women. The success against Sassuolo at Vinovo assured the Bianconere of the title, the first for Coach Montemurro, the fifth for a group whose hunger never waned.
OTHER VICTORIES, OTHER TROPHIES
Before success in Serie A there was the first trophy up for grabs of the season, the Women's Super Cup in January. In a four-team mini-tournament, Sassuolo were overcome on penalties in the semi-final, which set up a showdown with Milan. The outcome? The best possible start to 2022 - a trophy raised aloft after an emotional 90 minutes.
To wrap up the season, the Italian Cup and another record - for the first time the Bianconere completed the domestic treble.
The final against Roma was another battle, a challenge that required something more than individual talent. What was called for was that something that is perhaps difficult to pin down but which separates the extraordinary from the ordinary. Roma went ahead through a penalty converted by Andressa. Cristiana Girelli responded also from the penalty spot. Then no one less than Captain Gama pounced to find the winning goal - what a way to end an extraordinary season!
Women | Highlights Italian Cup | Juventus - Roma
PROGRESS IN EUROPE
The European adventure might not have brought another trophy, but it did enhance self-awareness and, by making one dream come true at a time, it allowed others to surface. The Bianconere found themselves in the group of death with UWCL runners-up the previous season Chelsea, twice winners Wolfsburg and Swiss champions Servette. The English and German teams were favourites to qualify based on squad strength and international experience, but game after game the impossible became possible.
The journey began with victory against Servette, and continued with defeat to Chelsea at the Allianz Stadium. The first signs of what could be were already felt there and then despite the setback. The home and away masterpiece against Wolfsburg, a 2-2 comeback draw at home followed by a 2-0 victory away, set up a crucial match at Chelsea. The goalless draw in London allowed Juve to arrive at the last match, at the Allianz Stadium with Servette, with destiny in their own hands, not to mention some thoughts about finishing top of the group. Qualification for the quarter-finals came on the back of an emphatic victory over the Swiss, but the result between Chelsea and Wolfsburg led the Germans to finish in first place. Still, qualification from the first ever UWCL group stages was a result in itself.
In the knock-out phase, Juve went face to face with the tournament's most successful side, Lyon. That experience was captured in the Juventus production "Chasing The Dream". So, let's allow the pictures, and the players, to do the talking.
Chasing The Dream | Juventus Women's UWCL adventure