2,500 fans, the biggest crowd seen so far at the Stadio Brunod during the pre-season training camp, were treated to non-stop variety in the players’ morning outing today.
The session began with a game of half-pitch handball that had to be finished with a header or volley, with Antonio Conte’s assistant coach, Angelo Alessio, calling out for movement from his players.
Angelo Ogbonna was the standout player in this particular game because of his exceptional height, but Carlos Tevez, Fabio Quagliarella and Simone Emmanuello all got their heads to the ball to score.
This session featured a change to the usual running order (with running having been the operative word over the past week): Luca Marrone and Ouasim Buoy continued a separate exercise regime, but the others played a mini match instead of the pure fitness that has become customary in the morning workouts.
With the one-touch rule in force, Alessandro Matri continued his unstoppable goalscoring form with a lob-volley after a clever flick-up from Mirko Vucinic. The Italian then turned provider, crossing in for Simone Padoin to volley home, before Vucinic blasted in a close range free kick.
The goals continued to come thick and fast: Quagliarella, refusing to be outdone by his counterpart Matri, scored an almost identical volley lob (and from slightly further out), and Fernando Llorente struck twice in quick succession. The Spaniard produced a moment of magic moments later when he fired a graceful volley straight into the corner whilst spinning round, a stunning way to round off his hat-trick.
Both the Primavera goalies, Leonardo Citti and Gianmarco Vannucchi, were being truly put through their paces, with shots flying at them constantly. Quagliarella headed onto the bar after a good Kwadwo Asamoah cross, and attempts continued to arrive from elsewhere.
Tevez was the last man to get on the scoresheet, slotting a Mauricio Isla cross into the corner, a goal which prompted Conte to blow the final whistle on the match.
After a brief exercise in retaining possession in a small square, next was the more familiar activity of repetitions of running the length of the pitch.
This saw the Bianconeri through to the end of their morning’s work, and they will resume their training this afternoon at 4.30pm (CET).