THE DAY AFTER BREAKDOWN: COPPA ITALIA CLASH
Torino, January 14th, 2021 – In last night's Coppa Italia clash with Genoa, part of Pirlo’s ideology was made clear as seen through fielding a mixture of Juventus veterans, with those called upon from the U-23 squad. The match began brilliantly – a showcase of our young talent, with our more experienced players providing some needed stability. While Mister Pirlo is pushing to form a stronger link from that of our first team with the youngsters, this change in turn was to provide some much-needed rotation to rest the team’s regular starters given our congested, and might I also add – very crucial, January schedule.
With players missing both short and long-term due to a mixture of COVID-19 and injuries, it was reassuring to see players eager to step up in order to see the team continue on current form. At the back of the pitch, 18-year-old Dragusin seemed to play with conviction. Through winning all of his duels (aerial/ground), diligent ball movement, and even leading the attack through an impressive run up the pitch – it's comforting knowing our Romanian can perform if called upon. This in hand with a dream debut for Rafia from our U-23 squad who scored the winner in extra time, gives me strong feelings of optimism for upcoming talent within the club.
Paired with Morata to lead our attack, our Swede Dejan Kulusevski rose to the occasion. Finishing the match with both a goal and assist, Dejan treated the match as he would a final, and has most definitely shown glimpses of becoming a potentially world class player. Every time he’s on the ball, it truly seems as though something happens. Unstoppable with his direct approach to attacking, and getting himself in all the right spaces – it could be said that his finishing could use some work (with both feet!). If more clinical, I believe Kulu could have possibly gone home with the match ball.
Just as Pirlo has noted on more than a few occasions, last night’s display showed Juve’s inability to maintain concentration, and to properly close out a game. This current side struggles with realizing the pace of a given match, and in turn, attempt to take control of it. Two goals to our name with only a quarter of the match gone by should be a fairly easy situation for the team to wrap their hands around. However, a win is a win, and this is the Bianconeri’s fourth consecutive win since the heavy defeat at home to Fiorentina. With Inter and Napoli on the horizon, all we can say is – ‘avanti così’ Juve!
On the transfer note of things… Genoa midfielder Nicolo Rovella – who in recent weeks has been identified as a transfer target for the Old Lady – took absolute control of his team’s midfield in last night’s match. With loads of character in such a young head, Rovella proved his worth through showing great composure, unlocking defences with just one pass, and urging his team forward. Something to keep your eye on and look forward to for both club and country.