Published On: Fri, Dec 21st, 2012

Cagliari 1-3 Juventus: Matri brace bails out Bianconeri

Juventus defeated Cagliari 3-1 on Friday night in Serie A at the Ennio Tardini thanks to a brace from Alessandro Matri and a late Mirko Vucinic goal which completed their second half comeback.

The game did not get off to the quickest of starts but it was eventually Cagliari who took the lead. In a strange atmosphere inside the Ennio Tardini stadium, the Rossoblu’s latest home, Ivo Pulga’s men took the lead thanks to a penalty awarded for a foul on Marco Sau.

Arturo Vidal was at fault for the lazy challenge and referee Damato pointed straight to the spot. Mauricio Pinilla stepped up to convert the spot kick, beating Gianluigi Buffon to his right.

After conceding, Juventus dominated possession and could have considered themselves hard done by not to receive a penalty of their own when Davide Astori seemed to put his arm round Fabio Quagliarella and pull him to the ground inside the area after a long ball forward.

However Antonio Conte’s men could not muster an equaliser before the half time whistle blew and the frustrating first half for the Bianconeri was brought to a close.

The Old Lady began the second half brightly and again perhaps felt enraged they had not been awarded a another penalty. After a header had ricocheted off the post, Matri saw his rebounded effort saved by Michael Agazzi only for Kwadwo Asamoah to head his effort wide from close range. The Ghanaian felt he had been pushed in the back and black and white shirts swamped the official on the goal line but the protests were futile.

Cagliari attempts to keep Juventus at bay suffered a severe blow when Davide Astori was shown his second yellow for a challenge on Giovinco that seemed unnecessary.

Eventually the Old Lady were awarded a penalty as Giovinco was brought down in the area despite the fact he seemed to go to ground a little easy. Vidal was handed responsibility to repay the penalty he had given away in the first half but failed to keep his composure and blasted the ball high and wide.

It seemed almost inevitable that Juventus would find an equaliser and the huge spells of pressure Conte’s men had created eventually paid off. Substitute Vucinic drove a shot from the edge of the area which was too hot to handle for Agazzi in the Cagliari goal, who spilled the ball at Matri’s feet. The former Cagliari man reacted fastest and tapped home the equaliser to the delight of the travelling fans behind the goal.

With two minutes remaining, Juventus were still pressing for the winner and it nearly came had it not been for a fine save from Agazzi. Asamoah made a good run in front of his marker and directed his header goalward but he Cagliari keeper was on hand however to tip the attempt onto the post and eventually scramble the ball away.

Six minutes of injury time were added but Juventus only needed two in order to complete their comeback. After the Cagliari defence attempted to clear the ball down field, the ball bounced off Vidal and dropped perfectly into Matri’s path. Calmly the forward tucked the ball home and doubled his own and Juventus’ tally in the game.

With Cagliari already beaten, Giovinco broke at speed and step up Vucinic to tap home from close range to seal all three points for the Old Lady and put them 10 points clear.




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