Juventus-Chievo: Diego Shines As Bianconeri Win 1-0 In Serie A Opener

Danny PenzaSenior Writer IAugust 23, 2009

With Inter Milan stumbling out of the blocks and drawing 1-1 against Bari, Juventus manager Ciro Ferrara knew that he couldn't let a golden chance to get ahead of his closest rival slip away.

That's exactly what happened as Juve defeated Chievo Verona 1-0 on an 11th minute goal by Vincenzo Iaquinta that came off a free kick by the summer's biggest signing, Diego.

The goal was just an early exclamation point on a first half that saw Ciro Ferrara debut his new 4-3-1-2 attacking-style football in Italy. The main reason why Ferrara changed his formation to that shined in his official Juventus debut.

Diego was all over the place—coming back on defense, leading the break; anywhere you could imagine him to be, he was there. The pint-sized Brazilian, as previously mentioned, won the free kick and laid the perfect service onto Iaquinta's head to put the Old Lady up 1-0 early.

Ironically, Iaquinta was supposed to begin the night on the bench. If it wasn't for Alessandro Del Piero being forced into street clothes because of a bad back, Iaquinta wouldn't have started.

The lead was almost gone within a matter of minutes, however, as Chievo pushed forward. Last year's hero for Chievo in their second meeting against Juve, Sergio Pellissier almost leveled the terms. He only managed to hit side netting as the crowd at the Olimpico was allowed to exhale.

Juve put the foot to the pedal again, with another Brazilian leading the charge. Amauri made a run down the left flank, making Chievo players look stupid in the process. Iaquinta nearly doubled the score on Amauri's run with a header, but Chievo keeper Stefano Sorrentino managed to get a foot to the ball for the kick save as he slid across his line.

Diego was at it again as he nearly spun in a free kick, but again it was Sorrentino to the rescue for Chievo. It couldn't have been a better first half for the tiny Brazilian magician.

The second half was a different matter, as Chievo produced more chances as time went on.

The much-maligned Fabio Cannavaro, playing in his first game back in a Juventus uniform, was solid for the first time since coming back to Turin. Partnering with Giorgio Chiellini, Cannavaro only had a few minor mistakes and drew applause from the same crowd that was whistling him to begin the game.

That didn't prevent Chievo from getting their chances, though.

The Old Lady's best chance of the second came from—you guessed it—Diego and Amauri. The tiny one made one of his numerous runs on the counter attack, and laid it back to the his fellow countryman. Amauri then pulled it back and had a glorious chance to score and all the Stadio Olimpico heard was the sound of the ball hitting the far post.

As Juve clearly began to tire, Chievo cranked up the pressure and seemingly put Gianluigi Buffon under siege for most of the half. Luckily for the Juve faithful, rarely did Buffon actually have to be called into action as Chievo's efforts failed to turn into any legitimate scoring threats or they went wide of the net.

Chievo had a last-gasp effort to level the game, but saw a cross find the head of nobody.

Ferrara has to be happy with the win, but knowing him, he certainly would have wanted a more complete 90 minutes. Unlike last year with Claudio Ranieri, Juventus' boss demands perfection from his team and anything less is looked at as a letdown.

The most important thing is that three points are in the bag.