02.12.2015 19:13 - in: Serie A S

      Friday night fever

      Share with:
      • 1
      • 3
      • 2
      Two runs to preserve against Lazio: first, a five-match winning streak in all competitions, second, a record of one defeat in 11 in fixtures played on Fridays...

      Having overcome Torino, Empoli, Milan and Palermo in recent weeks, Juventus face Lazio tomorrow with a fifth consecutive league win firmly in their sights.

      While such a statistic will not have gone unnoticed by the majority of Juventus supporters, only those hot on their historical quirks may also have spotted that the Bianconeri’s meeting with the Biancocelesti this weekend could also produce a similar tally of victories in fixtures played on Fridays.

      Of Juve’s 11 previous pre-weekend appointments, the Old Lady has lost just one, away at Jose Mourinho’s Inter in April 2010, drawing six and winning the other four. If the level of drama and the quality of the goals produced in that previous quartet of victories is anything to go by, this Friday’s clash in Rome is not to be missed…

      2001: Zidane steals the show

      11/05/2001: Fiorentina 1-3 Juventus, Stadio Artemio Franchi

      Six points adrift of Fabio Capello’s Roma with five matches remaining and following back-to-back draws with the Giallorossi and Lecce, Carlo Ancelotti’s Juventus entered this springtime meeting with Fiorentina knowing that only a win would be enough to keep their 2000/01 Scudetto hopes alive.

      With several first-team players absent through injuries and suspensions, the Bianconeri were still able to field a competitive side in Florence, with a front three of Zinedine Zidane, Filippo Inzaghi and David Trezeguet.

      Of the trio, it would be two-time Serie A foreign player of the year Zidane, who would join Real Madrid in a record-breaking deal the following summer, that stole the show by producing a man-of-the-match performance to down Roberto Mancini’s side. 

      Sure enough, it was Zizou that opened the scoring in Florence midway through the first half, prodding home instinctively from compatriot Trezeguet’s precise knockdown.

      The midfielder turned provider just four minutes later, delivering an inch perfect cross onto the head of Igor Tudor at the back post for the Croatian’s fifth goal of the season.

      Though Marco Rossi’s close-range effort would reduce the deficit just before the interval, Trezeguet climbed the highest to nod home from Fabian O’Neill’s right wing cross to seal the points. 

      Four wins in as many matches followed for Carlo Ancelotti’s men but it was not enough, as the Giallorossi clinched the title on the final day of the season with a 3-1 victory over Parma. 

      2012: Matri leaves it late

      21/12/2012: Cagliari 1-3 Juventus, Stadio Ennio Tardini

      It would be 11 years before Juve triumphed once more on a Friday. When it did come, in 2012’s last gasp win over Cagliari, it was a result that sealed a double club record for points won both in all competitions (119) and in the league (94) in a calendar year. 

      Finding themselves behind to Mauricio Pinilla’s early penalty, Antonio Conte’s men illustrated the same fighting spirit that had characterised that superb previous 12 months to claw their way back into the encounter in the second period.

      Having spurned glorious chances through Arturo Vidal’s missed penalty and a pair of close-range headers from Kwadwo Asamoah and Leonardo Bonucci, the Old Lady’s comeback kicked off with 15 minutes to go, Alessandro Matri (now of Lazio) smashing home on the rebound from a matter of yards. 

      As the encounter ticked into stoppage time, Matri’s predatory instincts told once more, pouncing on a defensive mix up in the Cagliari box to send the Bianconeri bench into raptures on the sidelines.

      And the team’s Christmas celebrations could truly begin three minutes later as Mirko Vucinic helped Sebastian Giovinco’s effort over the line to rubber stamp a magical year for Conte’s men. Five months later, against the same opposition, they were crowned champions for the second consecutive season. 

      2013: Juve top the tree once more

      06/12/2013: Bologna 0-2 Juventus, Stadio Renato dell’Ara

      The Bianconeri were at it again in another festive Friday fixture just under a year later, seeing off the challenge of Bologna by two goals to nil.

      With Rudi Garcia’s Roma in hot pursuit, Juve headed southeast to Emilia Romagna on an impressive run of their own, having won 12 of their opening fixtures and keeping clean sheets in all of the previous seven.

      Vidal’s early strike ensured that the meeting at the Stadio Renato dell’Ara went exactly according to form, the Chilean volleying home from Federico Peluso’s chipped through pass.

      From then on, there was only one winner as the Bianconeri began to turn the screw, with Fernando Llorente twice denied by smart stops from Gianluca Curci. 

      It would not be until the 89th minute however that the pressure on the Rossoblu backline finally told once more. Losing his marker in the penalty area, Giorgio Chiellini was the quickest to react to Carlos Tevez’s corner from the right-hand side to head past Curci and guarantee Juve’s place at the top of the Christmas tree for the third consecutive season. 

      Recognise this scene? Three Christmas top spots in a row became three league titles in a row a matter of months later.

      2015: Pirlo's Friday night wizardry

      20/02/2015: Juventus 2-1 Atalanta, Juventus Stadium

      “That’s how you win league titles, by playing ugly when you need to. You can’t always think you’re going to play well for 38 games.” 

      Massimiliano Allegri 20/02/2015

      Four days before a repeat of the same scoreline gave them a golden Champions League first-leg lead over Borussia Dortmund, the Bianconeri’s last Friday outing was the finest manifestation of the Tuscan’s words.

      Behind early on courtesy of Giulio Miglaccio’s header, the champions knew that they would only overturn the deficit by digging deep and grinding out a result. Take Llorente’s equaliser for example, the Spaniard poking home following the mother of all goalmouth scrambles in the visitors’ six-yard box. 

      While the Old Lady’s grit and fighting spirit would be on evidence again in the second half to close ranks and shut out the Nerrazzurri, Andrea Pirlo’s eventual winner was by contrast a thing of pure beauty.

      Bringing the ball under his spell 35 yards from goal, the evergreen midfielder made a yard of space for himself before lifting his head and placing an unstoppable effort into the top corner.

      A strike, one of many in Pirlo’s final season as a Juventus player, that could be watched over and over again. 

      Share with:
      • 1
      • 3
      • 2
      Information on the use of cookies
      This website uses cookies and, in some cases, third-party cookies for marketing purposes and to provide services in line with your preferences.
      If you want to know more about our cookie policy click here.
      By clicking OK, or closing this banner, or browsing the website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.