13 September 2020
The Bianconeri’s first friendly ahead of the new campaign saw them win convincingly against Novara, with Cristiano Ronaldo putting Juve a goal up in the first half, as Aaron Ramsey, Marko Pjaca and a late brace from Manolo Portanova completing the rout in the second.
ANALYSING THE TEAM
Juve-Novara proved to be a very useful test, with one week to go until the new Serie A season kicks off, especially to see how well the newcomers are bedding in.
In the opening 11 minutes, two new Bianconeri are heavily involved in the attack, namely Dejan Kulusevski (in the forward line alongside Ronaldo) and Weston McKennie in midfield. The first blast of the match arrives from McKennie, a left-footed shot from the edge of the area on five minutes, with an identical effort coming from Juan Cuadrado at the stroke of a quarter-of-an-hour. In both cases, the intervention of the opposing goalkeeper, Ivan Lanni is fundamental in keeping out the strikes.
The best link-up play comes on 20 minutes, as Ronaldo opens the scoring with a sharp right foot of his own, which slips unstoppably into the far corner, at the end of a fine passing passage of play involving Kulusevski.
Novara, who play in Serie C, set up as expected, playing a stand-off game, trying to limit the damage without risking too much and attempting to strike on the counter-attack. Juve therefore maintains a great deal of possession, whilst testing out formations and going for goal as much as possible. With further strikes in the first half to come from Ramsey and Ronaldo but the goal is left untroubled.
SECOND HALF DOMINATION
Just 11 minutes after the restart and Douglas Costa, one of the many substitutes after the interval, crosses deep to the far post for the on-rushing Ramsey to tap home, beating Lanni with a great touch. 10 minutes later and another second half sub makes their mark, with Pjaca stabbing home after his first attempt on goal is blocked to make it 3-0.
During the second half two other "new" players are on the field, namely: Arthur and Luca Pellegrini. Their impact on the game is good, with Pellegrini pushing to the left and Arthur sweeping the opposing half, carrying the ball and often dictating the tempo.
Right at the death Portanova pounces, scoring twice in two minutes, for a brilliant personal brace.
The match finishes 5-0, with the team therefore, getting off to a good start, in view of the official start of the season.
COACH PIRLO'S THOUGHTS
"I am satisfied because it's the first match and we only had two days to prepare for it after the return of the players from international duty. The guys worked hard, they've had good training sessions and this was the most important thing. We are trying many different formations, in the first half we played with a four-man defence that in the attacking phase became three, whilst in the second half we remained with the three fixed at the back and with three up top. Now we are preparing for our season debut on Sunday, we have one week to get ready."