A young Italian trio is the story of today’s Derby Della Mole: the ex-Viola with the assist, the 24 year old centre back shuts down Belotti, and De Sciglio offers a neat performance at right back.
“Torino è bianconera” (Turin is black and white) reads a banner in the Juventus supporters section. Juventus beats crosstown rivals Torino 1-0, their 5th defeat of the campaign.
Juventus had beaten their cousins 4-0 in the home leg and eliminated them from the Coppa Italia in the first match of 2018 with goals by Douglas Costa and Mandzukic (2-0 the final score in that match).
The main artifices of the bianconeri‘s win today are a trio of young Italians: Mattia De Sciglio, Federico Bernardeschi and Daniele Rugani.
Former Milan right back Mattia De Sciglio played a neat game at the back, helping the team maintain possession, assisting in ball distribution and maintaining game rhythm; helped by an insipid performance by his adversary in his department, Cristian Ansaldi. De Sciglio, however, lacked a bit in terms of supporting offensive forays in the final third. In the second half, Niang’s entrance into the match gave the 25 year old a more challenging job, but nothing that the Juventus defensive phase couldn’t handle, thanks to Bernardeschi’s support.
Birthday boy Federico Bernardeschi was called upon the arduous task of replacing Gonzalo Higuain after only 16 minutes of play. The 24 year old was able to find the match rhythm right away but proved key to Juventus’ win today. Less than 20 minutes later his burst on the right side proved lethal in exposing Torino’s soft underbelly, slicing a delicious ball across for Alex Sandro to slot passed Sirigu for the game winner.
Finally, Daniele Rugani, for whom many Juventus fans bemoan the lack of time afforded to him, had a solid performance at the back, especially in the defensive phase. The 24 year old wins decisively the duel with Italian international Andrea “il Gallo” Belotti, making it an impossible day at the office for the Granata striker. Defensively neat and calm, Rugani showed great personality. In terms of ball distribution, however, the former Empoli defender seemed tentative, unsure, often repeatedly giving the ball back to Chiellini or De Sciglio. His attempts at direct passing often ended up in “no man’s land” and turned over possession. Lack of playing time is the main culprit.
Albeit he’s no longer a “spring chicken”, one cannot over look today’s performance by another Italian, veteran defender Giorgio Chiellini. Always solid at the back, timely in his defensive interjections, Chiellini also showed his worth in ball possession. When ignored by his adversaries Chiellini took creative license and pushed forward carrying the ball on his foot wreaking panic in the Torino defense, feeding Juve’s offensives.
Juventus’ investments in Italian talent are starting to bud. The near-certain return of loanees Spinazzola and Caldara from Atalanta can only further colour of azzurro blue the bianconeri, and return the Italian national team the moniker of ItalJuve.