Juventus 2-0 Trabzonspor: 6 Things We Learned
Juventus safely negotiated the first leg of their Europa League tie with Trabzonspor with a 2-0 victory that was far from comfortable.
The Bianconeri took an early lead through Dani Osvaldo and then seized a crucial second goal through Paul Pogba in stoppage time to give themselves some breathing room before they travel to Turkey next week.
There were some frights along the way though, as the Turkish side nearly equalised late in the game, only for it to be ruled out when the ball had marginally been out of play before the ball hit the back of the net.
Here are six things we learned.
Statistics used in this piece are from whoscored.com
Osvaldo Will Be Pushing for a Start Very Soon
Dani Osvaldo scored his debut goal for Juventus on Thursday, and he could not have been more delighted.
The Azzurri international calmly slotted home an easy chance that materialised after Trabzonspor attempted to clear the ball and it bounced off Aykut Demir, falling kindly into the path of the 28-year-old.
Osvaldo has more dimensions to his game collectively than Carlos Tevez and Fernando Llorente.
Osvaldo can win aerial duels comparatively to Llorente, while having more guile and ability on the ball than the Spaniard.
Tevez has the industry and work rate to maintain the flow and momentum of moves, but Osvaldo also demonstrated he can achieve that same outcome with his excellent hold-up play and core strength to hold off and manoeuvre defenders out of the way.
Osvaldo showed a calmer side to his finishing with the goal, picking his spot to find the back of the net, but he is, of course, capable of unleashing a powerful strike on goal with his sensational ball-striking.
If Osvaldo takes his chances whenever Conte selects him, by scoring goals, he will eventually displace one of Tevez or Llorente.
Conte Can Go All out for Both Serie A Games Either Side of 2nd Leg
Antonio Conte will not be over the moon at winning 2-0 on Thursday, but it was adequate enough for him to fully concentrate on the Serie A games either side of the second leg.
While he would never admit as much, Conte will probably feel secure with their position in this tie.
By leading 2-0 and not conceding an away goal, the Bianconeri are almost certainly through to the next round.
It is just as well, as there are two massive matches over the next week or so.
The derby with Torino is this weekend, while a trip to fierce rivals Milan the following weekend, after the second leg, presents another stern test.
It may not seem like Juve have much to worry about in the league, but with Roma potentially closing the current nine-point gap to six points if they can negotiate Parma, their game in hand, they will still feel that they are in with a shout.
The sides meet later in the season at the Olimpico, which the Giallorossi will be confident of winning, having already done so in the Coppa Italia.
Therefore, Roma may have felt that these two matches would present stumbling blocks for the champions.
Now that Conte can effectively concentrate on these domestic clashes, they are fully capable of keeping fresh for both and securing maximum points.
Tevez Shines, but Lack of Goals in Europe Will Niggle
Carlos Tevez put in a superb performance against Trabzonspor, typically demonstrating his selfless work rate and relentless pressing to help force errors out of the opposition in order for his team to benefit.
El Apache was brilliant in forcing the Turkish side to be dispossessed, eventually setting up Pogba on the edge of the area to double Juve's lead moving into the second leg.
Tevez failed to score for the seventh occasion in European competitions this season, though, which will aggravate the Argentine.
It may become a concern if this streak continues any longer, particularly now that Juve are facing weaker opposition in the Europa League.
So, while Juve have tough games versus Torino and Milan bookending the second leg, Conte will be keen to play Carlitos again in Turkey to get this monkey off his back.
Ogbonna Finally Settling into the Back Line
Angelo Ogbonna put in a composed performance against Trabzonspor that will bring confidence moving forward for the Italian.
The 25-year-old was terrific in helping the Old Lady to prevent an away goal on the night, even though the hosts had a scare in the second half.
Ogbonna made more tackles than any other player on the pitch with seven, also making the most clearances for the Bianconeri on the night, with six.
Moreover, nobody made more interceptions (three) than Ogbonna for the Serie A champions, proving what a complete defender the former Torino star is.
With his versatility to fill in at left-back, and bring some balance to the defence when playing out of the back due to being left-footed, Ogbonna will begin to feature more heavily from next season after a solid season bedding in at the elite level.
Isla Edges Peluso to Be the Wide Player Worthy of Being Given Extra Minutes
Mauricio Isla outplayed his team-mate Federico Peluso as the most effective wide player for Juve on Thursday.
Juve require more purpose and quality on the flanks than Peluso is capable of providing.
While Isla has been frustrated throughout his Juve career, he has given Conte some food for thought with a tidy performance.
The Chilean was able to make two key passes and complete a dribble when contributing in an attacking sense, but he was also more productive in the way he looked after the ball and helped maintain the flow to Juve's moves.
Peluso was sloppy and was guilty of turning the ball over on four occasions, with Isla not turning the ball over at all.
Isla may yet find it tough to displace Stephan Lichtsteiner, but performances like this will confirm to Conte that he should have confidence in rotating the Swiss international for him as the season draws to a close.
Conte Must Drop the Capello Feud
Antonio Conte will be pleased that Juve picked up a decent result in the Europa League, as had they not, he could have been accused of damaging his side's chances by the ongoing feud he is involved in with former Juve manager Fabio Capello.
The two managers have thrown verbals back and forth throughout the last week or so and it has become a distraction as legendary Juve figures waded in to the debate as to which manager's side was better.
Conte attempted to draw a line under the debate stating to journalists after the game (via Football Italia), "it's better to concentrate on football."
He is wise to say as much, especially while Juve are yet to suffer any detrimental effect from the Bianconeri heavyweights' argument.
Moving forward, Conte must have thicker skin and do the talking on the pitch through his team.