I am really curious about the Livorno players’ high jersey numbers. They started with only Nico Pulzetti sporting a single digit number. It reminded me of a spring training baseball team loaded with minor leaguers trying to make the big squad. The game featured lots of end to end action in this game, and the teams were relatively evenly matched, save for two players: Gianlugi Buffon and Mauro Camoranesi. Without these two, this game surely ends in a draw or Livorno win.
Buffon’s value to Juventus cannot be understated. A la Cech and Van der Sar, he has the stereotypical, tall, lanky keeper’s body. His imposing frame is matched by his ability to always get into the right position, and his quickness to react. My game notes show 6 different times where I made a point to write down that he made an excellent save. The thing that kills me about him is he seems so cool about everything as well. It really must drive opposition strikers mad. Livorno played well throughout the match, but when their own finishing didn’t fail them, Buffon was always there to protect his goal.
The scoring began when Juve struck first in the 8th minute when Vincenzo Iaquinta neatly headed home Camoranesi’s cross from outside the box. The bianconeri added a second goal in the 30th minute when Claudio Marchisio chipped a shot over Alfonso de Lucia. Mauro Camoranesi assisted both goals and was all over the pitch all night. He tracked back to strip Livorno players of the ball. He pressed forward to feed his own strikers. His work rate was excellent. His positioning reminded me a bit of Andrea Pirlo, but with perhaps a little bit more ambition forward. Last week I wrote that I thought that perhaps Mauro was a bit overconfident. This week his play supported all of his self-assurance.
On a night when stars Fabio Cannavaro and Alessandro del Piero were unavailable due to injury, both Buffon and Camoranesi imposed their will on the game to ensure a Juve win.