06.04.2016 11:00 - in: Youth Teams S

      Primavera primed for cup final

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      As Fabio Grosso’s Primavera get set to compete in Thursday’s Coppa Italia final first-leg against Inter, Juventus.com reviews the side’s season so far

      Thirty wins from thirty-five fixtures domestically, top of the league with one trophy already in the bag while competing at the business end of yet another tournament.

      In a nutshell, this is the Primavera’s impressive season so far as they head into Thursday’s Coppa Italia final first-leg against Inter at Juventus Stadium.

      For those asking themselves how Fabio Grosso’s young guns arrived at such a position of strength, this piece aims to answer exactly this question with a close look at the side’s story in all competitions this term.

      Cup run relished

      It all began on a Wednesday afternoon in late September and, if truth be told, the Bianconeri were made to dig deep on more than one occasion in the opening stages of their Coppa Italia run.

      First up was the visit of Como, against whom strikes by Mattia Vitale, King Udoh and Luca Clemenza saw the Primavera come from behind to seal a hard-fought 3-2 victory.

      Sampdoria and Spezia too provided stern opposition in the next two rounds, both of which ended in 2-1 victories courtesy of goals from Carlos Blanco Moreno and Clemenza against the former and Gabriele Bove and Oumar Toure in a tight last-16 tie with the latter in Liguria.

      Following three straight successes by just the one-goal margin, Fabio Grosso’s charges eased to a 3-0 victory away to Genoa in January. Andrea Favilli made the most of deliveries from full-backs Pol Lirola and Claudio Zappa to net an accomplished brace to show why he is the side’s leading marksman with 14 goals in all competitions before Clemenza added gloss to the scoreline with a late third.

      Fiorentina were the team lying in wait for the two-legged semi-finals. Never an easy excursion the one to Florence, but Grigoris Kastanos’ 44th minute strike made it advantage Juventus for the return game in Vinovo, where Clemenza established himself as the tournament’s top scorer with his fourth Coppa Italia strike before Fabio Morselli and Kean Moise Bioty put their progress to the final beyond all doubt.

      League leaders

      If the Primavera are flying high at the top of the table, it’s in no small part down to their tremendous 12-match winning streak put together between the start of November and late February – incidentally almost exactly the same period of time in which Massimiliano Allegri’s first-team registered their 15 consecutive victories in Serie A.

      The very first win of this impressive run, a 4-0 thumping of Sassuolo, undoubtedly represented a key moment, but perhaps even more crucial was the way that result was followed up by another three points against even tougher opposition in the form of Fiorentina courtesy of Nicolò Pozzebon’s seventh goal in what was only his sixth league outing.

      Having notched six successive victories before the festive period, the next biggest test facing Grosso’s charges was that of blowing away any potential Christmas cobwebs and maintaining momentum into the New Year.

      In only the second fixture of January, the Primavera faced the small matter of a Derby Della Mole against inter-city rivals Torino. Trailing 1-0 at half-time, the Bianconeri dealt brilliantly with the pressure, equalising through Favilli shortly after the break before Fabio Morselli netted a dramatic late winner, as Juve demonstrated every ounce their never-say-die attitude.

      Further proof of the Primavera’s appetite for the big game occasion came again in early February, when they saw off second-placed Virtus Entella 2-1 in a top-of-the-table clash in Vinovo. Pol Lirola and Francesco Cassata were the league leaders’ goalscorers that day.

      Although Grosso’s young guns have dropped points of late to Sampdoria and Sassuolo, their 1-0 win over Novara last weekend has ensured that they remain two points clear of Virtus Entella with a game in hand.

      Victorious in Viareggio

      This time last week marked the moment that the Primavera ended a four-year wait to lift the Viareggio Cup again for the ninth time in their history, seeing them top the all-time winners’ list along with Milan.

      Keeping clean sheets at one end and netting nine at the other in their three group matches, Juve breezed past Argentine outfit Camioneros and L.I.A.C. New York, while also overcoming a more competitive Crotone side to reach the knockout stages.

      The last-eight fixture against one of the tournament favourites Milan had many predicting a closely-matched affair, but it proved far more one-sided thanks to strikes from Pozzebon, Gabriele Bove, Alessio Di Massimo and Morselli. Four-nil the final score.

      Winter transfer signing Joss Didiba was at the double in the quarter-final triumph (3-1) over Bologna, paving the way for a semi-final berth against Spezia.

      Tough opponents in the Coppa Italia last autumn, the Ligurians ended up taking Grosso’s charges all the way this time around in Tuscany, spot-kicks ultimately the only means of separating the sides with the scores tied at 2-2. Kastanos, Lirola and Yoan Severin all scored in a 3-2 shootout victory.

      That left Palermo to play in the competition’s showpiece event, in which goals from two of the tournament’s best performers Kastanos and Guido Vadalà were cancelled out by Antonino La Gumina’s brace. With the game seemingly destined for a second successive penalty shootout, second-half substitute Di Massimo netted in the 75th minute to take the trophy back to Turin.

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