At exactly the halfway point of the first half in this tie and it looked like game over. Juventus had already had about ten shots, scored twice – could have well had four if the finishing was any better – and Genoa looked dead and buried. Fans watching at home were already making their plans for the rest of the evening, and unfortunately so were some of the players wearing black and white too.
But the Rossoblu were far from done and continued to push forward and attack the second string Juve side on the pitch, and when the whistle to end the second half went, the score was 2-2 and the Bianconeri had been dragged to extra time by Davide Ballardini’s men.
Speaking after the match, coach Andrea Pirlo was much, much less than impressed by his team’s performance.
“We made life complicated for ourselves, as we had played the first half really well, then got distracted and it became tougher.
“It’s a pity, as we had done what we needed to and should’ve controlled the situation better. The Coppa Italia is a target, so it was important to win and go through to the next round.”
Dejan Kulusevski had his best performance so far in the Juve shirt in the first half of this game.
“He is still very young and only really had one Serie A season, so it’s a big step up to Juventus. He has some peaks and troughs, so needs to be more consistent during the 90 minutes, more determined in front of goal and realise every single ball at Juventus is precious.”
A number of young players got their chance to shine in the limelight today, not least Radu Dragusin who was in the starting lineup today.
“Dragusin made his debut in the Champions League, then 20 minutes against Genoa in Serie A, he is very interesting and showed his quality.”
Both Milanese sides were also stretched to extra time in their corresponding ties with AC Milan needing penalties and Inter scoring in the last minute of extra time to progress.
“Pretty much all the games went to extra time, which shows how tough they all were. We are in the same boat and will have a few days to recover and prepare.”
An early problem observed with Pirlo’s Juventus is that they tend to play down to their opposition, often to their own detriment.
“I don’t think we did struggle, as we were in control for most of it. There were a lot of young players who were in their first real experience at this level, so some mistakes can happen.
“We lacked concentration at times, especially when in a leading situation, so we need to improve the game management aspect.”