Tuesday, January 12, 2010

conquering turin

Thiago Silva

Juventus 0 AC Milan 3

This was going to be the month that would test our mettle. So far, we are excelling, achieving results in flying colors. Genoa wasn't supposed to be easy, but we put in our best performance of the season. Juventus away wasn't going to be any easier, but yet we walked away after crushing them at home. It wasn't a vintage performance, but it reminded me of the classic Serie A which is now becoming rampantly entertaining. Juventus' defense forms about 80% of the Azzuri rear guard. After this display, Lippi will be forced to look beyond the Bianconeri for reinforcements.

Ciro knew that the only way to stop the Milanese juggernaut is to stop them from playing. He stacked up the midfield, man marked our front men reducing much possibility of free flowing football. The Italian also knew that we struggle most when the opposition plays an intensely physical game. And so they did. The midfield was highly congested and tight. But we scored against the run of play, Melo proving why he won the Golden Bin award. I found Juve's approach to be highly unprofessional. Hacking their opponents down every 5 seconds seemed to be the headline tactic.

We continued to be very nervy in the second half. Juventus attacked relentlessly. But Amauri and Diego had gone missing in the mist. Beckham's set pieces were poor by his standards, it resembled his performance. Juventus were clearly the better side as they were more assertive. Silva and Nesta did all within their grasp to see to it that nothing went past them; they were successful. Pirlo replaced Beckham as the corner kick taker, and what do you know, we have our second goal! Although, it was with a bit of luck. This sucked the spirit out of Juventus which showed in their output for the rest of the game. Their back four were caught kicking the air on Ronaldinho's second and our third. Woeful defending is just being polite.

Its a triumphant win. We weren't pretty but after six long years, we walked out of Turin with the champagne bottle. The delight in the team was largely evident. One look at the celebrations should tell you how fired up the players really were. We showed Italy, and Europe, that we don't need to be at our best to win. We adopted a very different game-plan with the same team that thumped Genoa, and secured the three points. The scoreline is flattering, yes, but that is because we did take our chances. Silva, is my man of the match. The highly under-rated defender has been a rock at the back. This is a compliment and it doesn't mean he has been immobile. Though Nesta has won the plaudits and has been hilariously labeled as the best defender in the world, it is a certain Brazilian who plays beside him who is actually securing our wins.

Juventus - /
Milan - Nesta 29', Ronaldinho 72', 88'

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