Sampdoria maintained their undefeated home record impressively Sunday afternoon, defeating Juventus 3-2 at the Marassi on the back of yet another Lucas Torreira masterclass.
While the return of Serie A action this weekend promised so much with the Derby della Capitale, Napoli’s clash at the San Paolo against Milan, and Inter hosting Atalanta at San Siro, it was Sampdoria versus Juventus that undeniably grabbed my attention the most – as I explained in our recent episode of the Italian Football Daily Podcast.
Entering the weekend, Sampdoria were one of eight teams in Europe to hold an unbeaten home record this season, a list that includes quite the company: Manchester City, Manchester United, Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain, Porto, Benfica and Club Brugge. If manager Marco Giampaolo was to ensure his Samp remained flawless at the Marassi, a fearless effort from his men was required, including a special solo performance from the highly-coveted midfielder Lucas Torreira to put the bow on top.
To no surprise, the Uruguayan midfielder was the difference for the Blucerchiati in their 3-2 victory over the visitors, using his diminutive, pint-sized stature to his advantage once again. Torreira was nearly impossible for the Bianconeri to solve over 90 minutes of play, demonstrating his well-roundedness and maturity in a defensive midfield role that is ever so demanding of it.
Off the ball, his bravery entering physical encounters to win possession, along with the refusal to concede even the slightest bit of space, gave Max Allegri’s side fits all match. An unrelenting workhorse, the 5’6″ controller pressed early and often, floated into pockets of space to pose as an outlet in the attack, and got himself on the scoresheet because of it with a lovely finish to Wojciech Szczesny’s far post. Persistent, driven and equipped with engine to last in important matches, the 21-year old stole the show. However, equally as impressive was his work on the ball to dictate the flow of the game.
It’s one thing to win the ball, but another to know what to do with it – and when exactly to execute the next pass.
Torreira’s ability to circulate the ball quickly – both in the air or on the ground – is amongst the best in the Italian top flight, but it’s his intelligence to let play develop before picking the proper pass out that stood out.
Lucas Torreira’s performance by the numbers vs Juventus:
87% pass accuracy
3 long balls
1 shot on target
1 dribble won
5 tackles@WhoScored rating 8.2
‘Gioiello’ 💎 pic.twitter.com/sxM29Yx1oj
— Matthew Santangelo (@Matt_Santangelo) November 19, 2017
As shown in his statistics above (via Who Scored), the Uruguayan was a burden for the ‘Old Lady’ to handle in all facets of the game, and in the end, carried Sampdoria to a thrilling win at home. Similarly to how he conducted play several weeks ago at the San Siro versus Inter, Torreira put on a clinic, and with every performance, proves he is ready for the next level.