05.01.2016 11:00 - in: Serie A S

      Hellas New Year!

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      Wednesday’s New Year encounter at Juventus Stadium will see Juve face Hellas Verona for the ninth time in January, winning seven of the previous eight

      For many, the arrival of a New Year is an opportunity to begin afresh, try something entirely different or to learn from and reflect on the mistakes and successes of the previous 12 months.

      As for Juventus, January generally brings the gift of three points, with the Bianconeri winning 47 out of a possible 82 fixtures immediately after the Christmas break.

      In fact, two of those post-holiday triumphs have come against Hellas Verona, who will become the first side to visit Juventus Stadium in 2016 on Wednesday afternoon.

      Taking the whole month into account, Massimiliano Allegri’s men would have done well to select more favourable guests, having overcome the Gialloblu in eight of their nine previous Serie A encounters in January.

      Since the 1958 meeting in Verona, a 3-2 triumph decided by John Charles, Omar Sivori and Giuseppe Corradi, New Year encounters between the two teams have all been set in Turin and all but one won by the home side, conceding just two away goals. 

      Kick-starting Juve’s January joy in earnest was none other than iconic frontman Pietro Anastasi, whose brace in 1970’s 3-0 victory laid the foundations for what was his team’s eighth win on the spin in Serie A as the Bianconeri embarked on a decade that would see them crowned champions five times in the space of seven seasons.

      A little over 16 years later, it was the turn of another club legend Michel Platini to ensure that Old Lady supporters rang in 1986 in the best possible fashion.

      In a tustle between the champions elect and the Scudetto holders, as had been the case on countless occasions that season, it was the wizardry of the Frenchman that made the difference at the Stadio Comunale.

      Having been marked out of the game in the first half before the injury of opposite number Luciano Marangon, Platini took the tie by the scruff of the neck, first firing home from long range on 49 minutes before delightfully splitting the away defence to set up Aldo Serena shortly afterwards. 

      Michael Laudrup would add the finishing touches 19 minutes from time to round off a resounding 3-0 win and symbolic result for Giovanni Trappatoni's men on their march to a 22nd league crown.

      The Bianconeri's 3-0 victory over Verona as chronicled by the February 1986 edition of Hurra Juventus magazine

      The following season, the Bianconeri's efforts would come from a slightly more unlikely source courtesy of long-serving full-back Antonio Cabrini. 

      With the scores level following Prebe Elkjaer Larsen’s low finish and Lionello Manfredonia’s poked equaliser midway through the second half, a foul by Domenico Volpati on Beniamino Vignola two minutes from time presented the Bianconeri with a final chance to snatch all three points.

      With fans and players alike in the Stadio Comunale anticipating an effort from usual set-piece taker Michel Platini, Cabrini caught them all by surprise bending a superb left-footed strike into the corner via the post to send the home crowd into raptures.

      By the turn of the 1990s, the Bianconeri faithful twice had a more familiar predatory presence in Salvatore Schillaci to thank for getting the second half of their side’s 1989/90 and 1991/92 seasons off to a flyer.

      In the first of these two encounters, the Sicilian would strike late to seal a last-gasp 2-1 victory at the Stadio Delle Alpi in what would be an unforgettable year for the diminutive striker also on the international stage (his six goals for the Azzurri at the 1990 World Cup held in Italy made him the competition's top marksman).

      Nevertheless, it was his effort two years later against the same opposition that truly demonstrated his penchant for finishing.

      Holding a slender one-goal advantage following Giancarlo Marocchi’s first-half opener, Schillaci rubber-stamped the three points in spectacular fashion, unleashing an unstoppable overhead kick past then Verona keeper Angelo Peruzzi.

      As the 20th century drew to a close, Juve’s stranglehold over this festive fixture would only continue, with Filippo Inzaghi, another forward renowned for his goal poaching abilities, doing the honours in a 1-0 win on 6 January 2000 to net his 19th of the 1999/2000 campaign in all competitions.

      The Old Lady would, however, save her best new year pyrotechnics for 2015, putting six past Verona in the Coppa Italia last 16 (6-1) and adding a further four (4-0) in the league a matter of days later.

      A similar show of attacking menace would surely provide the perfect beginning to what promises to be a gripping 2016. It is at this point that we will let the goals do the talking. 

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