Serie A champions Juventus fell to a shock 3-2 defeat to Sampdoria at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris on Sunday evening.
The Old Lady were 3-0 down in the 80th minute and despite pulling back two consolation goals in stoppage time at the end of the second-half, they were not able to pull off a dramatic turn around. Massimiliano Allegri’s men now sit four points behind league leaders Napoli ahead of next weekend’s clash with Crotone.
What could the reigning champions learn from their disaster date with Sampdoria?
Gianluigi Buffon could be a huge miss
It has always been the suggestion that Juventus will be greatly hampered by the departure of stalwart goalkeeper, Gianluigi Buffon. Signed from Parma in 2001, the Italian has gone on to become the second-highest appearance maker for the Bianconeri with 635 appearances. The 39-year-old though was left on the bench on Sunday evening as he was reportedly still recovering from the disappointment of missing out on the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Former Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczęsny took his place in between the sticks as the Old Lady aimed to extend their 12-match unbeaten run in all competitions. All for his impressive performances for AS Roma last term, the Pole was just simply not able to replicate the experience and understanding that Buffon possessed with his defence.
Poor defending from the Old Lady allowed Duvan Zapata to nod in the opener with Szczęsny stranded on his goal-line. Lucas Torreira then beat the Pole with a low shot from distance before Gian Marco Ferrari tucked home to all but secure the victory for the home side. The communication from the back-line was inexplicable, especially considering Juventus’ impressive defensive record so far. Buffon might not have been able to alter the result but he certainly was a huge miss. His upcoming retirement might cause Juventus supporters to worry.
Dybala is key
Left on the bench due to his international participation with Argentina, Juventus forward Paulo Dybala made a goal-scoring contribution as he weaved in and out of the Sampdoria defence to fire low past Emiliano Viviano in the home goal. The ability to jink past numerous defenders and find the exact point to see the ball sail past a goalkeeper is a gift afforded to only few of the world’s most gifted forwards.
His intelligence on the ball and sheer pace that he brings to the Juventus attack terrify opposition defenders and it is no wonder that the Old Lady are desperate to keep their star forward in Turin. His lethal finishing though is also a delight to see on the pitch and his latest strike took his total for the season to an outstanding 14 goals in only 18 games in all competitions.
If Juventus are to retain their Scudetto crown, Dybala is going to be a crucial reason for that.
Sampdoria could be the real deal
Despite Dybala’s brilliance in the final few seconds, Juventus were simply not able to overcome Sampdoria. The victory over Allegri’s troops has lifted the Genova-based outfit up to an impressive sixth in the Serie A table, only two points behind Lazio.
Marco Giampaolo’s men have been the surprise package of the 2017/18 campaign so far and thoroughly deserve their lofty position. The Swiss has now lead his team to victories over Juventus, AC Milan, Atalanta and Fiorentina. In fact, they now have five wins in their last six games. Even more outstandingly, the Blucerchiati have now only been out-scored by tonight’s opponents, Napoli and Lazio. Their defence record is equally as eye-catching – having only conceded more goals than the top five in Serie A.
With Bologna up next, Sampdoria could continue their pursuit of the top of Serie A, potentially pushing on for a European place come the end of the season.
Keep an eye out for Torreira
A key component in Sampdoria’s win over Juventus was Uruguayan midfielder Lucas Torreira. The 21-year-old scored the second goal and set up the third from a free-kick. He has now scored three goals in as many games and has slowly but surely become one of the first names on the team-sheet at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris.
Since joining from Pescara at the beginning of the 2016/17 season, he has made 47 appearances. Torreira has in fact started every single game so far this season, playing every single minute for Sampdoria. He is yet to make his first appearance for national side Uruguay but it goes without saying, that first call-up could come soon if he continues in this positive vain.
Old Lady with one eye on the Champions League
Following the clash with Sampdoria, Juventus will do battle with Barcelona in mid-week. The Turin outfit could be guilty of having one eye on their crunch fixture against the Catalans having only accumulated seven points so far during the campaign. Midfielders Miralem Pjanic and Sami Khedira looked distracted as they were easily bypassed by the Sampdoria attack.
Allegri was also willing to keep some of his key players behind. Buffon, Dybala, Blaise Matuidi and Alex Sandro all started on the bench against Sampdoria. Whether that was down to international duty or the upcoming clash with Barcelona remains to be seen. It will be interesting to see if these crucial influencers are all drafted back into the starting line up in the week.
Sampdoria: Viviano (6); Strinić (7), Ferrari (8), Silvestre (7), Bereszyński (6); Praet (6) (Linetty (7), 28′), Torreira (8), Barreto (7) (Verre (6), 74′); Ramirez (7); Zapata (7), Quagliarella (6) (Caprari (N/A), 84′).
Juventus: Szczęsny (5); Lictsteiner (5), Chiellini (6), Rugani (5), Asamoah (6); Khedira (5), Pjanic (5) (Matuidi (N/A), 80′); Mandzukic (6), Bernarderschi (6) (Dybala (7), 62′), Cuadrado (5) (Costa (5), 72′); Higuaín (7).
Goals: Zapata (52′), Torreira (71′), Ferrari (79′), Higuaín (90+1′) PEN, Dybala (90+4′)
Referee: Marco Guida
Yellow Cards: Bernarderschi (14′), Quagliarella (54′), Rugani (59′), Ferrari (63′), Khedira (63′), Linetty (75′) Ramirez (90+1′).
Red Cards: N/A
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!