Juventus vs. Torino: 6 Things We Learned
The match ended as it has since 2008: with a win for Juventus. Again, Torino failed to score against against them, a drought now dating 12 years. The derby is the oldest in Italy and also the most lopsided, and Juventus may regard Fiorentina, the team that inflicted their only loss in Serie A, as a bigger rival. Those two face each other in two weeks.
This wasn’t a classic. Both teams traded chances, and like any derby, there were needless fouls and shouts for a penalty.
Juventus dropped off in the second half and almost invited Torino to tie the match. Not often do they give opponents so much respect at their own stadium, let a lone a team with such a miserable record against them.
“It is rare to see Juventus struggle so much in this stadium, as they put three goals past Milan, Roma and Inter here,” Torino manager Giampiero Ventura told Sky Sport Italia (h/t Football Italia) after the match.
Here are the six things to take away from the derby.
All stats compiled by the good people at WhoScored.com.
Carlos Tevez Is Scoring Again
The year did not start too well for Carlos Tevez. He went the first six games without a goal, this after going scoreless in the Champions League.
The 30-year-old broke that spell with two goals against Verona, and he scored the winner against Torino with a swift turn and kick of the ball at the edge of the box. Now, he has 14 goals in Serie A, tying Giuseppe Rossi, who injured his knee early in January. All but one of the goals came from open play.
The beauty of Tevez is that he doesn’t wait for the ball to come to him. He runs back and into space, always looking for the right spot.
He appeared to injure his finger, but he later told Sky Sport Italia (via GianLucaDiMarzio.com) that he is fine and that he will be able to play against Milan next Sunday.
Misery Has a Friend in Torino
Torino have only lost their encounters with Juventus by a single goal, but they haven't helped themselves. Too many shots went wide—three of their 15 shots were on target—and too many fouls were committed, some right outside the penalty area. Andrea Pirlo was given several chances to score another of his signature free-kicks, too.
Ventura felt aggrieved with the officiating, via Sky Sport Italia's report. He thought the game was missing a penalty and a red card, one for a challenge made by Pirlo on Torino’s Omar El Kaddouri late in the game and the latter for a second yellow card that went unissued against midfielder Arturo Vidal for a handball.
But the story here was almost inevitable. Torino hadn’t beaten Juve since the days when Antonio Conte played for the club back in 1995.
Ciro Immobile, Alessio Cerci Fail to Impress
Coach Ventura did not want his players to press forward and leave themselves exposed against a team that so heavily beat Inter and Roma before them, according to the Sky Sport Italia report. Only until the final half-hour did Torino truly threaten for the equalizer.
Earlier in the game, Ciro Immobile thrashed the ball so hard—and wide—that it broke the rope suspending the net. His partner, Alessio Cerci, made a few runs to nowhere. Both of them make up one of the best partnerships in Serie A. They have been directly involved in 79 percent of the goals scored by Torino.
This time, Italy manager Cesare Prandelli was watching, perhaps to see if one or both merited a place in the friendlies before the World Cup and perhaps in the competition itself. Neither player was truly influential, and maybe Torino rely on them a bit too much.
A Win Is a Win for Juve
There wasn’t much to like about the performance from Juventus. They were equally uninspiring in the match earlier in the week against Trabzonspor, but they won another important match in a season that’s quickly turning into one of the best ever in Serie A.
Andrea Barzagli is the player that keeps the defence together. His game is mistake-free, and when he does leave a man alone, he rushes back to cover for the error.
More than Vidal, Pirlo, Tevez, Buffon, Pogba the one player Juve can't replace is Barzagli IMO- they are different team when he plays— David Amoyal (@DavidAmoyal) February 23, 2014
Gianluigi Buffon didn’t have to work too hard for the clean sheet, his 12th of the campaign, but Juve did afford Torino more time with the ball—especially as the game ended.
Another Game, Another Reason to Like Martin Caceres
He has started just six games in Serie A with Juventus this season, but he deserves to play so much more. His stats were clean: 94 touches and a passing percentage of 95, second most of any player in the game.
Caceres has scored an own goal, and he can bobble the ball, but he is strong in the air and smart with his clearances. He is quiet on the field, and equally when he’s not playing. He deputized for the injured Giorgio Chiellini, and unfortunately, he is ahead of Caceres in the hierarchy, but this 26-year-old is capable of playing in the bigger games, just as he did against Real Madrid in October.
Vidal Suspended for Match at San Siro
Vidal picked up a yellow card, and he was already one away from a suspension. He also risked a red card. Juventus will have to play Milan without him, and that may be OK.
Kwadwo Asamoah has proved useful and effective on the flank, and he teed up Tevez for the goal. Claudio Marchisio also replaced Vidal as a substitute, and he could do the same next Sunday.
Vidal could also play the entire match in Turkey this week against Trabzonspor, and Conte will get a chance to rotate the squad once again.