Juventus have passed their first test, they’ve qualified for the next round of the Europa League defeating Shamrock Rovers 2-0 away from home and 1-0 in the return leg at home. Now Juventus will play a play-off against Austrian side Sturm Graz, and if they win that playoff, then they will play in the Europa League group stages.
The return leg was a nasty affair, heavy rain slowed down the pace of the game and reduced the field to a barely playable condition, but the stats show that Juve was dominant throughout the match. Juventus had 7 shots on goal, while Shamrock Rovers had one, and the bianconeri were able to keep 67% of the possession leaving the Irish team with 33%. But the match wasn’t an easy affair, Juve needed Del Piero to break the deadlock in the 74th minute with a magnificent free kick from 35 yards out, which Ale tucked into the top left hand corner, scraping the bottom of the bar.
A moment of genius which Delneri orchestrated by replacing a disappointing Diego for Del Piero at the beginning of the second half. Juventus started with a 4-4-2 or a 4-4-1-1 with Storari in goal and a back-line (from right to left) of Motta, Bonucci, Chiellini, and De Ceglie; a midfield (from right to left) of Pepe, Sissoko, Marchisio and Lanzafame; and in attack Delneri stuck with Diego and Amauri. But this time only half of the attacking duo was effective, Amauri used his physicality to fight for high balls and battle with the Irish defense, but Diego was ineffective, unable to tame the ball with the extremely watered field.
But as for the rest of the team, players sacrificed themselves to play a disciplined 4-4-2, Sissoko and Marchisio didn’t play the ball well, but they held the midfield. Motta at right-back was among the best, along with Bonucci and Chiellini in defense and Amauri and Del Piero in attack, who were both constant threats to the Irish defense.
But now Del Piero has made Delneri’s job a lot harder, a wonderful goal and a great performance which eclipses the Brazilian Diego. Who will Delneri put in his starting 11 now? It will be interesting to see what will happen in the future, whether Diego remains a starter, or whether Del Piero is just too good to stay out. Be sure to share your thoughts below by commenting!