The Old Lady of Turin has been absent from Champions League play since the calciopoli scandal of two seasons ago but you wouldn’t have known it, especially once the home side took the lead in the 76th minute, from a Del Piero free kick which was simply spectacular.
Juventus came close on several other chances and looked deadly on the majority of their dead ball opportunities yet it was fitting Alessandro Del Piero, last year’s Serie A golden boot winner, broke the silence with the only goal of the match against Zenit St. Petersburg. New boy Christian Poulsen several mintues earlier almost scored off a similar free kick directed into the box.
Older Bianconeri stars such as Ballon d’Or winner Pavel Nedved and stalwart keeper Gigi Buffon who stayed with the club during relegation, were truly relishing the return to the pinnacle of European club competition. Anyone watching could see the Juventus squad was filled with purpose and desire, in particular Nedved who exudes a personal will to succeed this time round.
“The three points were crucial and we paid a little for the fact that we may not be Champions League debutants, but we felt like it tonight.” said Nedved.
JUVENTUS (4-4-2): Buffon – Grygera, Legrottaglie, Chiellini, Molinaro (57’ De Ceglie) – Camoranesi (31’ Salihamidzic), Poulsen, Sissoko, Nedved – Trezeguet (87’ Amauri), Del Piero
ZENIT (4-3-3): Malafeyev – Anyukov, Krizanac, Puygrenier, Sirl – Denisov, Tymoschuk, Zyryanov (80’ Dominguez) – Arshavin, Pogrebnyak, Danny
soccerways.com – Del Piero rocket scrapes Juve past Zenit
mcalcio – Juventus 1-0 Zenit: The Bianconeri Dreamt It, ADP Dealt It
UEFA Magazine video interview – Juve’s winning return with Christian Poulsen and Dick Advocaat