Good afternoon, I am Josh Hills and I’m here at the Allianz Stadium in Turin to give you the action live from Juventus’ Serie A fixture against Fiorentina
Fiorentina come into the game three points, and places, above Juventus after an awful start to the campaign from the Zebre, who are winless in their last three league matches. The boys from Florence have only beaten Juventus seven times in 82 games in the league when playing in Turin, however a win and a draw in the last two means avoiding defeat today would be the first time they haven’t lost to Juve since 2008 in a three match spell.
Massimiliano Allegri will desperately be trying to impress the home crowd today with a victory as he looks to avoid leading Juventus into their worst ever start to a Serie A campaign and a loss today could see them drop as low as 12th in the table.
TEAM NEWS ARE IN!
From the team sheets, we can identify a few key players, with one of which being the Serbian striker, Dusan Vlahovic. The 21 years-old has had a phenomenal year in purple, netting 25 league goals in 2021, which is more than Alvaro Morata (nine), Federico Chiesa (eight) and Paulo Dybala (six) combined, who all three start today as Juventus’ main attacking threats.
His form has attracted attention from some huge clubs in Europe, Juventus being one of the front runners to sign him alongside Tottenham, Liverpool, Atletico Madrid and Arsenal, Fiorentina did well to keep him in the summer as they demanded 70 Million Euros for him, which saw Tottenham’s interest fade and the trust they have invested in him has been repaid with his form.
However, Fiorentina have failed to score on their travels recently, with nearly 200 minutes played without a goal away from home, the last was Vlahovic penalty in their 0-1 win over Udinese in late September
The Juventus team doesn’t look as scary as it has in recent times but it still has star qualities who Allegri will be hoping can combine and help him see a victory today. At the heart of this could be the defence, and in particular Matthijs De Ligt and Giorgio Chiellini, who are playing together for the first time since the 1-0 victory in the Derby Della Mole, and they will be looking to keep another clean sheet and hopefully kick start the season.
Juventus seem to have a real setback from the Euro’s as five of their key players were integral to the Italian victory and players such as Manuel Locatelli and Chiesa haven’t hit the same levels they did in the summer, potentially hinting at fatigue and tiredness, whereas clubs such as Fiorentina who have had good starts didn’t face the issue with only two of today’s starting eleven being taken to the Euro’s in contrast to Juve’s seven.
17:18-The Players are now out warming up and as the crowd flock into the stadium, the atmosphere and excitement builds, we are all hoping for a real spectacle this afternoon.
17:43- Warm up completed, just over 15 minutes until kick off. Time for final preparations for each team and time to give our predictions, leave yours in comment section, and I am going to go for a 1-2 win for Fiorentina, with Vlahovic and Callejon to score for Fiorentina and Chiesa to score for Juventus, against his parent club who have loaned him to Juventus.
An injury to Giorgio Chiellini sees Danielle Rugani come into the backline with De Ligt, perhaps a clear example of commentators curse here
17:57- The teams make their way to the pitch, led out by Dybala in replacement of Chiellini and Cristiano Biraghi
2′- First attack falls to Fiorentina, who break down the right with Alvaro Odriozola but his ball across the box was poor and Saponara had no chance of getting to the ball
5′- Fiorentina have dominated the early proceedings and seem to press Juventus very well, who appear cagey and nervous.
6′- Jose Callejon looks to find Vlahovic with a cross but Locatelli is there to clear up the danger with a volley away
8′- Gaetano Castrovelli finds space in the box and the ball falls kindly for him, but he is unable to control it properly and Danilo is able to send the ball up the pitch
10′- Juventus can challenge from corners with big centre halves such as De Ligt and Rugani, but Dybala’s delivery was unconvincing and it is cleared by Biraghi at the front post
12′- A second corner for Juventus and Dybala whips in a better cross, pinpoint onto Morata’s head but his connection is poor and can only direct the ball out for a goal kick
15′- Martinez Quarta stands up well and tackles Weston McKennie who was driving at him after winning the ball in the centre of the park, it results in a third corner for Juventus. The corner is taken short to Chiesa who drives forward and his low driven shot is cleared by Quarta
17′- After a mis-kicked clearance from Odriozola, the ball loops up into the air with De Ligt challenging Pietro Terracciano in the air and his finger accidentally pokes the goalkeeper in his eye, the ball as well sailed over the bar for a goal kick when Terracciano is ready to take
21′- De Ligt spots the run of Dybala in behind the defence, Quarta catches up with him so he plays the ball inside into Chiesa who is bought down by Nikola Milenkovic. The free-kick was clipped into Alex Sandro at the back post but Riccardo Saponara is able to head the ball away before any real danger could mount
23′- Biraghi deep cross finds the head of Callejon who was left free, his ball back across goal was unable to find Vlahovic who was excellently marked by De Ligt and is able to get it away
26′- Yellow card- Quarta’s cynical foul on Morata see’s him go into Simeone Sozza’s book, meaning he misses the game against Milan
30′- Saponara drives at Juventus but Mckennie is able to get back and kick the ball off the Fiorentina man for a goal kick
34′- La Viola come forward again with Giacomo Bonaventura finding a switched pass out to the full back odriozola, who has been heavily involved down the right side, and his ball was delightfully chipped right onto the penalty spot for Saponara to meet it and go for the spectacular, a bicycle kick, but it narrowly flies over the bar, keeping the score at 0-0
37′- Biraghi, the captain, sends in an early, first time cross and Vlahovic times his run to perfection, but unfortunately the effort didn’t match and it goes wide of the right post. Fiorentina need to convert a chance during this period of dominance or they may live to regret it
40′- Odriozola again finds space down the right side and looks for Vlahovic but De Ligt is able to put it behind for a corner. De Ligt also headed the corner away
43′- McKennie’s long throw arrows into the box onto De Ligt’s head, but the connection was not ideal and it flies high and wide
45′- The fourth official indicates that we will have two minutes added on
45+1′- Yellow card- Danilo is beaten by an exquisite piece of skill from Castrovelli and he drags him down to the ground
45+2′- Controversy here on the stroke of half time, Danilo who just received a yellow, seems to accidentally handle the ball from the free kick, however VAR deemed it wasn’t intentional nor was his hand in an unnatural position so the ref blows the whistle for half time
HALF TIME: JUVENTUS 0-0 FIORENTINA
Fiorentina started the game well, dominating possession and Juventus grew into the game slightly but there was no real attacking threat from Zebre, Dybala’s crosses were poor from set pieces and Chiesa hadn’t really had a sniff of the ball in the attacking third. They have looked defensively solid considering the last minute change due to a Chiellini’s injury in the warm up, but De Ligt has marked Vlahovic out of the game, winning multiple aerial duels and cleaning up most of the Fiorentina crosses, as well as providing a threat at the other end of the pitch.
La Viola deserve credit for their performance so far, has seemed to be the perfect performance from them bar their finishing. On another day they could be 2-0 up. Odriozola has had a lot of joy down the right side up against Alex Sandro, who looks relatively out of his depth here with the bombardment, and his crosses are hitting decent areas, especially the Saponara chance, which was the most clear cut chance of the game and really should have put them a goal up.
More of this in the second half from both teams and personally I can only see a Fiorentina win.
SECOND HALF- KICK OFF
45′- Substitution- Juventus decide to make an change before they kick off for the second half, Alex Sandro who had a horrid time up against Odriozola in the first half is replaced by Luca Pellegrini at left back
47′- First attack of the half comes from a wonderful improvised back heel by Dybala into Morata’s feet and he turns and runs towards goal but Milenkovic cleans up the danger and passes it off Morata’s shin for a goal kick
49′- Another Weston McKennie long throw troubles the Fiorentina defence and Milenkovic’s poor clearance falls for Dybala to volley it but he drags it wide of the right post
50′- Morata plucks the ball down beautifully from the sky and flicks it over the head of Milenkovic and smashes the volley into the side netting, calling for a handball against the Serbian but Sozza waves him off
53′- Biraghi looking for another cross onto Vlahovic’s head who is again marked by De Ligt, whose clearance falls for Saponara, who struggles to adjust his feet and loses the ball to Locatelli
55′- McKennie finds Adrien Rabbit in space and he serges towards goal and his shot deflects off of Odriozola and out for a corner. Dybala’s ball in is inviting and De Ligt’s front post run just evades his head and it falls for Rugani at the back post and he slices it wide of the goal
58′- Pellegrini with an awful clearance that falls kindly for Bonaventura, who gets the ball out to Callejon but the cross is blocked by Pellegrini, who makes up for his original error and throws a hand up to apologise
61′- Odriozola goes down holding his face from an arm by Rabbit but the ref sees no issue and Juve have a goal kick
62′- Forward runs are scarce from Juventus, Pellegrini had the ball on the left flank and was crying out for options, he tried putting the ball in the box but it ended up with a throw in for Fiorentina as Biraghi shields it out
64′- Substitution- The Arsenal loanee, Lucas Torreria is replaced Sofyan Amrabat
66′- Yellow Card- A late tackle by Milenkovic on McKennie see’s himself booked by the referee
68′- The Spanish connection down the right side for Fiorentina was foiled by Rabiot, who plays it up to the target man, Morata, and his pass flew off the pitch, going near nobody and it was met by jeers from the home crowd, who are clearly frustrated by the teams recent performances as well as tonights.
71′- Red Card for Daniel Niccolini, Fiorentina’s assistant manager has been sent away to the stands after his reaction to a foul made by Pellegrini on Vlahovic. He was infuriated by the choice to not book Pellegrini after Milenkovic saw yellow for a similar foul
72′- Another overlapping run by Biraghi see’s a stinger cross come in but Rugani is able to hook it away out of danger
73′- RED CARD!- This time its for an infield player, Chiesa knocks the ball past Milenkovic and he sticks a leg out for him to fall over and he jumps up demanding a second yellow, which Sozza has no chance but to brandish. Fiorentina are now down to 10 and this means they are without both CBs for their game against Milan
74′- Double Substitution- Riccardo Sottil, the young Italian forward, has been ready to come on for a while and he replaces Saponara alongside Igor coming on for Callejon as a reaction to the red card for Milenkovic
76′- SO CLOSE! Chiesa plays a give and go with fellow Italian Locatelli, the floated return plays Chiesa in behind Biraghi who hits a well struck half volley straight onto the underside of the bar and it thunders back away from goal to Fiorentina’s relief
78′- Three more Substitutions- The Ghanian international, Alfred Duncan, and Serbian Matija Nastasic enter the field of play for Fiorentina in replace of Bonaventura and Castrovilli in the hopes of being more defensively secure after the scare from Chiesa. Then Juan Cuadrado replaces Adrien Rabiot for Juventus, the third game in a row in which Rabiot has been substituted
81′- Yellow Card- An awfully late challenge by Nastasic on Locatelli and 3 minutes after coming on he is booked
81′- Morata offside! An incredible ball in by Cuadrado and it is met by Morata, who smashes it into the roof of the net, but he hadn’t timed his run and was way ahead of the last man
83′- Dybala plays a ball over the top to Morata but he is smothered by Terracciano and it is kept out
86′- Another good ball in by Cuadrado, who has been lively since he has come on and this time Chiesa is definitely onside, he runs in front of Nastasic and his first time shot is palmed safely away by Terracciano
87′- Again, Cuadrado drills a ball into the box and Terracciano has to palm it away from the ‘corridor of uncertainty’
88′- Yellow Card- Rugani doesn’t allow Vlahovic to spin him and brings him down in Midfield
88′- Substitution- Kaio Jorge, the 19 year old Brazilian, replaces Morata
90′- The fourth official indicates that 4 minutes will be added on
90+1′- GOOOOAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!! The deadlock finally has been broken and the substitute that has changed the game scores it. Locatelli picks Cuadrado out and instead of crossing it in he drives to the byline, beating Biraghi and he smashes it home between the arm of Terracciano and the near post. JUVENTUS 1-0 FIORENTINA
90+3′- Substitution- The captain, Dybala, is replaced by Rodrigo Bentancur
FULL TIME: JUVENTUS 1-0 FIORENTINA
After having to wait 91 minutes for the opening goal, we was treated to a bit of Colombian magic from Juan Cuadrado who was energetic from the moment he stepped on to the pitch and Allegri has been questioned recently over his tactics and decision making but that substitution was key. Rabiot playing out wide was not working, he was being dispossessed constantly and the difference in quality between him and Cuadrado was vast, automatically there was confidence down the right wing, he was getting crosses in and running at Biraghi and he received a reward for it.
Fiorentina did dominate the first half but at the end of the day, like we mentioned they regret the chances they missed. Saponara with the main one going for the spectacular bicycle kick but narrowly sending it over the bar. All the joy they were receiving with Odriozola was killed by Allegri’s substitution at half time to bring on Pellegrini. La Viola came out for the second half and instantly you could see the game was going to be different as from the first whistle Juventus were keeping the ball better, creating more chances and nullifying any threat from Fiorentina.
It was disappointing to see Vlahovic have such a poor game, he rarely got the ball to his feet and was dominated aerially by De Ligt, who had a superb game, after coming into the game scoring a hat-trick against Spezia. He had a clear cut opportunity that he squandered in the closing minutes of the first half but except that he had no real involvement, Odriozola and Biraghi were getting the crosses in but Juventus’ centre back pairing handled the bombardment terrifically.
The Man of the Match has very little contenders to it, Cuadrado only played roughly 15 minutes but affected the game massively so he deserved an honourable mention, and if I could give it to Allegri I potentially would as he faced a big obstacle losing his captain and centre half just before kick off but the team was defensively solid, controlled the midfield and on another day could have potentially scored more as they smashed the bar and scored an offside goal.
However, the man I am going to award man of the match is De Ligt, in the first half he caused a problem from set pieces and then defensively he was impeccable. Zero mistakes all game, dominated in the air, man marked one of the most sought after strikers in the world to having no shots on target all game and even created counter attacks on multiple occasions with his incredible range of passing. It really showed glimpses of him back in his Ajax days as he hasn’t had the start here he may have wanted but it emphasised the leader and player he is and what Juventus fans can expect from him.
So, that is the end of this evenings commentary, thank you for joining me and I shall see you next time.