The Primavera have slipped to a Coppa Italia first leg final defeat against Roma. Marco Baroni’s side, facing the Giallorossi just over two weeks after their 2-1 Viareggio Cup triumph, showed plenty of heart and determination but ultimately were unable to overturn a resounding start by the visitors.
Despite beginning brightly, the Bianconeri found themselves immediately on the back foot as Roma won a penalty with their first attack of the game. Appelt sent Ciciretti tumbling in the box and Abbattista had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Viviani kept his cool and slotted past the despairing dive of Branescu after just five minutes.
And the visitors almost doubled their lead minutes later when hesitancy in the home rearguard allowed Verre to tee up Piscitella inside the box. Branescu remained alert and sprawled to his right to palm the winger’s shot to safety.
But moments later the Giallorossi found the two-goal cushion they had been craving. A corner from the left-hand side was turned goalwards by Tallo. The striker’s header took a deflection and flew past Branescu, leaving the Bianconeri with a mountain to climb.
Yet Baroni’s side have clearly taken heed of the spirit and determination displayed by the first team and responded admirably in the face of adversity by creating a host of goalscoring opportunities.
Both Appelt and Spinazzola drew saves from Pigliacelli, while De Silvestro forced the keeper to make a stop with his legs after being sent clean through by Beltrame. Padovan had the final opportunity of the first half, firing over the bar from close range.
The restart saw Baroni’s side come out all guns blazing. Chibsah gathered the ball in space and sent in a 25-yard strike which was pushed wide by Pigliacelli for a Juventus corner. Shortly afterwards, De Silvestro connected with a delivery from the right-hand side but had his close-range header blocked by the chest of Nego.
Baroni elected to make his first change midway through the second half and the coach’s decision reaped instant rewards. Seconds after entering the action, Libertazzi, who had come on in place of Padovan, latched onto Untersee’s searching pass and steered the ball into the bottom corner with twenty minutes remaining.
The goal lifted the volume at Juventus Stadium, with a 13,000 strong support driving the hosts forward. The young Bianconeri responded accordingly by growing in stature and continuing to press for an equaliser.
And with the game in stoppage time, Juventus went agonisingly close to levelling affairs. Margiotta’s cross was inch perfect for Libertazzi but the striker saw Pigliacelli pull off a fine double save to protect Roma’s slender advantage.
The return leg is to be played in Rome on 22 March.
JUVENTUS 1-2 ROMA
GOALS: Viviani (pen) 5, Tallo 19, Libertazzi 65
Branescu; Untersee, Gouano, Rubin (Schiavone 83), Liviero; Appelt, Chibsah; Spinazzola, Beltrame (Margiotta 62), De Silvestro; Padovan (Libertazzi 64).
Substitutes not used: Sluga, Belfasti, Magnusson, Bouy, Libertazzi.
Pigliacelli; Nego, Romagnoli, Orchi, Barba; Politano, Viviani, Verre; Ciciretti (Cittadino 54), Tallo (Leonardi 87), Piscitella (Frediani 46).
Substitues not used: Proietti, Sabelli, Carboni, Lopez.
Coach: De Rossi.
ASSISTANTS: Lo Cicero, Leali
FOURTH OFFICIAL: Minelli
BOOKINGS: Appelt 4, Frediani 86