Luigi Del Neri's men showed impressive character in the second half to earn a vital win and boost their ailing Champions League hopes for next season...
Juventus came back from behind twice to defeat Genoa in an eventful 3-2 victory, thanks to goals from Simone Pepe, Alessandro Matri and Luca Toni, and increase hopes of featuring in next season's Champions League.
Incredibly, Genoa took the lead in the seventh minute in freakish circumstances. After some impressive build-up play by Davide Ballardini’s men, Luca Antonelli’s harmless low cross into the box was wildly deflected into the net by Leonardo Bonucci, with Marco Storari completely helpless, to make it 1-0 to the visitors.
Leonardo Bonucci had a fantastic chance to equalise through a free header in the Genoa box, but his effort was expertly kept out by Eduardo, who seemed a far cry from his eccentric antics earlier this season.
Simone Pepe blew a golden opportunity to get the hosts back into the game on 45 minutes after being found by a tantalising deep cross, but his header hit side netting and signalled the end of proceedings in the first half.
However, Pepe was to be Juventus’ saviour after grabbing the equaliser just five minutes after the second half initiated. A well-whipped in-swinging cross from Alberto Aquilani found the Italian winger in the box, and his header, courtesy of a Marco Rossi deflection, beat Eduardo and soared into the bottom right corner for 1-1.
Juventus seemed to have regained their fight, which was missing from their limp first half display, and Milos Krasic almost made it 2-1 just a minute later after some fine build-up play on the edge of the Grifoni box, but the Serb’s attempt was straight at the visitors keeper.
It wasn’t to stay a draw for long though, as Genoa came straight back on 63 minutes to regain their lead. Antonio Floro Flores finished clinically from several yards out after being neatly played in by Alberto Paloschi on the left, easily bypassing Marco Motta, who was replaced shortly after by the far more efficient Frederik Sorensen.
Pepe on display | Juve man celebrates equaliser
Luigi Delneri’s men came charging back to equalise a second time through Alessandro Matri, who benefitted from Luca Toni’s introduction. His first touch of the game proved significant, as he laid the ball off to Matri, who struck the ball sweetly into the bottom right corner to make it 2-2.
Juventus had two more noteworthy chances after the goal, with Toni being a key figure in both. A dangerous ball was whipped into the box, but the ex-Fiorentina hitman failed to make any contact with the ball, which would have been a definite goal. Shortly after, he played in Pepe expertly, but the wingers finish was straight at Eduardo.
Toni capped off his impressive substitute appearance by scoring the winner seven minutes from time, and also giving his side the lead for the first time in the match. He showed great strength, power and finishing ability in the process, giving the spectators a glimpse of his former self.
Genoa tried to come back through the likes of Floro Flores and Palacio, but the hosts eventually held on for all three points, and are now seemingly back in contention for a fourth place finish this season, and Champions League nights returning to the Old Lady of Turin.