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28 January 2012
• Juventus Stadium, Torino
Referee: P. Valeri
• Attendance: 39625
A. Matri 42', 62'
A. Floro Flores 56'
90' + 3'
And that's the game! Conte's men hang on to defeat Udinese 2-1 at home, in a very open encounter. The home side now have a four point lead at the top of the table and extend their unbeaten run, whereas Udinese risk being caught by Inter in third place should the latter win this weekend. Thank you for joining us here on Goal.com!
90' + 2'
Yellow Card Mauricio Isla
90' + 2'
Yellow Card Antonio Di Natale
90' + 2'
Frustration creeping all over Udinese now as Di Natale is cautioned as well for mouthing off to the referee.
90' + 1'
3 minutes of extra time have been added by the fourth official; only 3 more minutes for Juventus to hang on for the win.
Bonucci gives the ball to Di Natale in a dangerous area but somehow Chiellini is able to race back and steal the ball from the pacey captain.
Yellow Card Pablo Armero
Amero booked for kicking the ball away in frustration after Juventus were awarded a free-kick.
De Ceglie and Matri exchange a few passes before the former's pass to the latter is cut out by the Udinese defence deep in the visitor's box.
A change for Guidolin now as Pereyra comes on for Isla in one last gambit. Udinese are lacking cohesion at the moment and just seem to be hoping that a goal comes their way.
Juventus focusing on keeping possession on this stage and not giving the visitors an inch of space at the back to kill off the match.
Paolo De Ceglie
Lichtsteiner off for De Ceglie as the former had asked to be withdrawn.
Barzagli does an immense job at the back to shepard the ball out of play and prevent any kind of forward momentum for Udinese.
Ten minutes left for Udinese to try and get something out of this, but given the rash of injuries and dearth of options on the bench, it seems like they'll need to rely on their captain as usual to work his magic.
Matri wiggles and twists his way in the box before crossing the ball but his attempt is headed out by the Udinese defence.
The pace of the game has been taken out somewhat as Juventus are much more composed at the back than earlier in the match. Udinese continue to press forward but are having a much more difficult time carving out true chances.
Giaccherini finds Matri on the edge of the box, but instead of turning and shooting like last time, the striker lays the ball off for his teammate, whose shot lands squarely in Handanovic's arms.
Battocchio comes on for Domizzi now as Guidolin rolls the dice. The 19 year old captained the Udinese youth team last season.
Great skill from Domizzi forces Lichtsteiner to clear the ball as Juventus switched off at the back for a second and let the Udinese man in a very dangerous area.
Handanovic collects a poor cross from Pepe as the substitute tries to keep play following a Juventus free kick alive, but to no avail.
Pirlo tries another effort outside the box but again fails to test Handanovic, as the midfielder seems more than anxious to get his name on the scoresheet for the first time this season.
A very poor strike from far out from Pirlo goes way off target- the player knows it and holds his hand up as an apology.
Udinese pressing forward now but finding more Juventus shirts defending than earlier in the second half- now in the lead, the home side have seemed to learn their lesson about being caught on the counter attack.
Another change for Conte, bringing on Pepe for Estigarribia to help Juventus return to a more normal configuration.
Assist Claudio Marchisio
Goal Alessandro Matri
Juventus at the moment are committing too many men forward, leaving the side quite vulnerable on the break. Conte's decided that he's seen enough and sends on Marchisio for Quagliarella.
Juventus are far from dismayed, however, as they attack at every chace that they can. Udinese don't seem to mind as they counter quickly and the ball bounces off Di Natale's knee from a cross and bundles over the bar from just yards out! That easily could've been the visitor's second goal.
Conte's men find themselves with much defending to do now, as Udinese race forward on the counter with confidence. Isla and Di Natale try to carve through the defence but Chiellini stands in the way and protects his keeper by blocking the shot.
Assist Mauricio Isla
Goal Antonio Floro Flores
GOAL FLORO FLORES! Udinese's speed on the counter left Juventus with no answer!!! Isla dragged his side forward and out of nothing, Udinese were countering with only two Juventus defenders back. He played it wide to Floro Floroes, who stopped, picked out the far corner, and then curled it in, leaving Buffon with no chance. 1-1 and game back on, just when Juventus were looking so comfortable!
Matri tries a chipped ball over the top of the defence but is unable to find Quagliarella in the box. Vidal's shift to the centre of the midfield seems to have sparked a change in Juventus and has allowed the team to be much more compact.
Di Natale misses a chance to equalize! The captain races his way through the middle of the Juventus defence and fires a shot on goal that goes centimetres wide of the far post! You'd expect him to score from there!!
Pirlo goes for goal on the set piece but it clips the top of the wall and goes out for a corner. Isla takes possession and tries to counter but passes the ball right to Vidal, who tries another long range effort that goes just over the bar!
Yellow Card Damiano Ferronetti
The first booking of the second half goes to Ferronetti for a very poor tackle on Giaccherini. The home side find themselves in a great situation: a free kick just outside the box.
Isla tries to slip in Di Natale now but Barzagli and Chiellini teamed up very well to cut out the pass. So far, the home side seem a much more confident team than what was out there in the first half- as exemplified by Estigarribia's near miss at the far post!
Isla plays a great ball in to the charging Armero but the latter's first touch is very poor and lets the Juventus defence steal possession.
The second half begins with Abdi being substituted for Floro Flores as Guidolin undoubtedly looks to shake things up on the field. Juventus try to double their tally as Lichtsteiner plays the ball to Matri but Handanovic is closer to the ball and able to collect.
Antonio Floro Flores
And that's the half! Juventus take a 1-0 lead into the half- though the visitors are far from out of it. The game has been scrappy at parts but always open, and anything seems likely to occur in the second half. Join us in 15 minutes for the rest of the match!
Juventus now fully charged up. Vidal takes a long range shot that isn't far from target as the side look to capitalize on the rush that the goal has given them.
Assist Fabio Quagliarella
Goal Alessandro Matri
GOALLLLLL MATRIIIII! Handanovic parries out Quagliarella's header but right into the range of his strike partner, who just poked the ball into the net from nearly point blank range. 1-0 to Juventus!!
Another very poor touch from Matri sees him lose possession in the box during a very solid turn. The home side might be dominating possession but are lacking a true cutting edge up front.
Armero wins a free-kick after Quagliarella catches his trailing foot during a drive forward.
Juve are encamped in front of the Udinese box, but Handanovic is easily able to collect Matri's cross. The new system isn't quite working yet for Juventus, as Matri often finds himself an isolated figure and shunted out to the sides.
Play is getting increasingly sloppy as the wet ground is preventing the players from passing as they'd like. Di Natale goes down a bit too easily under a light challenge from Barzagli in the box and the referee waves play on.
Giaccherini booked for taking down Isla during a very dangerous Udinese counter-attacked.
Yellow Card Emanuele Giaccherini
A chance goes BEGGING for Juventus there! Lichtsteiner found himself alone in the box after receiving Matri's pass but the full-back took far too long to shoot, and his effort is blocked for a corner.
A great slide tackle from Barzagli prevents Pasquale's pass from penetrating the high wide area of the pitch. Momentum seems to have swung in the way of Udinese now.
Very tense scenes as Bonucci and Di Natale are at odds after Danillo took out Giaccherini in the midfield. No one is booked but Juventus are awarded a free kick in a very central position. Pirlo swings the ball into the far post where Bonucci nodded the ball down but there were no Juventus players anywhere near him.
Quagliarella takes a shot from just outside the box but his effort sails high over the bar as well. It's a disjointed effort from Juventus at the moment.
Estigarribia wastes a free kick in a great position after skying his shot when receiving the pass from Pirlo inside the box.
Giaccherini lines up a shot from outside the box but his effort is blocked by the Udinese defence.
Yellow Card Arturo Vidal
Vidal booked now for a bit of a reckless challenge in the midfield. Lichtsteiner goes over to the referee to debate that, and needs to be careful himself lest he be cautioned.
A fantastic save from Handanovic now! Matri was through on goal after a quick counter from Juventus, but the Udinese keeper raced out of his goal to slide and send the ball back down the pitch! Matri really should've done better there!
Udinese doing a very good job to dispossess the Juventus players with the ball at their feet, as now Vidal is robbed of possession.
The referee takes his time to award Handanovic a goal-kick after Pirlo dribbled the ball out of play from a Juventus corner.
Events are occurring at a furious pace now. Juventus take a free kick that results in a blocked shot on goal from Matri, before Armero gives Pasquale a reprieve and blocks Lichtsteiner's foray down the flank.
Yellow Card Gelson Fernandes
The first yellow of the match goes to Fernandes for a very clumsy challenge on Quagliarella.
Pasquale has Lichtsteiner stifled at the moment and it's the former's interception on the latter that begets another fast attack from the visitors. Di Natale takes a shot that is deflected out for a corner, which leads to two shots that were blocked.
A fantastic save from birthday boy Buffon! The goalie was able to dive across his goal to save a shot from Armero that was destined for the bottom corner from the corner!
Pirlo is causing Udinese a few problems with his probing crosses as another one of his passes is headed away. Udinese counter and Di Natale puts a great shot on target that Buffon is forced to tip over!
Pirlo whips in a superb deep cross that Udinese is forced to clear for a corner. Chiellini gets his head on it but Handanovic makes a superb diving save to keep the ball out of the net! The whistle is blown and Chiellini has to go out for treatment on his nose before Handanovic can take his goal kick.
Isla fails to control a cross-field pass from Di Natale and the ball rolls out for a Juventus throw-in. The visitors are starting to grow into their own in the match, which is becoming an open affair.
Udinese counter after Matri's pass goes awry in their box. Good running from Armero forces Chiellini to whip the ball out for a corner as Di Natale was lurking, and the home side have some trouble clearing the ball before Lichtsteiner carries it out of the area.
Pirlo nearly plays a perfect pass to Quagliarella in the box but Domizzi's header to Handanovic sees the ball get to the Udinese keeper before the striker can attack.
Lichtsteiner fails to keep a pass from Barzagli in play. Udinese take the subsequent throw in as a chance to slow the tempo somewhat, passing around the back before losing it quite easily with their first pass forward.
Giaccherini gets on the end of a loose clearance outside the box and tries quite an audacious volley but it's high over the crossbar. Nevertheless, Juventus are showing their confidence and attacking intent.
Di Natale plays a great flick, as per usual, towards Pasquale but the player just drifted into an offside position.
Another shaky moment at the back for the visitors as Giaccherini was nearly played in behind them. Juventus are playing at full pace at the moment and Udinese are having trouble coping with the home side's speed and guile
A nice chance from Juventus! Estigarribia races through the Udinese defence to receive a through ball that put him clear through on goal. He fires from a wide position but Handanovic is equal to the task and saves the day.
And we have kick-off! Immediately Lichtsteiner is called into his defensive duties to clear a dangerous header as Udinese pour forward.
Heavy snow falling in Turin tonight, but thanks to the technological advancements in Juventus' new stadium, the pitch is in perfect condition and is heated.
Just moments away from kick-off now. Juventus are decked in their festive pink kits, whereas Udinese are in their usual black-and-white kits despite being the away team on the night.
The head-to-head between these sides has been quite even. Over the past five meetings in Serie A, each side has won once away and once at home whilst drawing the other encounter.
Udinese have to make due with a rash of injuries as well; Fabbrini, Coda, and Pinzi all fail to make the team tonight. Instead, Di Natale leads the attack like usual and Francesco Guildolin's men will be using a three man backline as well Handanovic; Ferronetti, Danilo, Domizzi; Basta, Isla, Fernandes, Armero, Pasquale; Abdi, Di Natale Bench: Padelli, Piccoli, Battocchio, Ekstrand, Pereyra, Floro Flores, Torje
Juventus' new signing Martin Caceres could mean that the side will be utilizing a three man backline more frequently in the future; though the player has not been called up tonight, Conte is trying out the system anyway. Marchisio and Pepe start on the bench and Vucinic is out for this one. Buffon; Bonucci, Barzagli, Chiellini; Lichtsteiner, Vidal, Pirlo, Giaccherini; Estigarribia; Matri, Quagliarella Bench: Storari, De Ceglie, Marchisio, Marrone, Pepe, Del Piero, Borriello
Form also seems to side with Conte's men on the night. Both sides are coming off of wins- Juventus having defeated Atalanta 2-0 away and Udinese edging Catania 2-1 at home- but Udinese were defeated in gameweek 18 by a stubborn Genoa side, whereas Juventus tied at home to Cagliari.
It should be a tough match at any rate, but on paper it's Antonio Conte's men who have the slight advantage. Juventus are unbeaten at home all season, scoring 19 goals in nine matches and only conceding six during that time. Udinese, conversely, have been a bit of a mess on the road, winning just two of their nine away matches and only scoring eight whilst conceding 10.
Welcome to Goal.com's LIVE match coverage of Juventus-Udinese! Make no mistake about it: this could be one of the defining matches of the season. It's first against third, separated by a mere three points, with a hungry Milan in between and a revived Inter just behind. The winner of this just might gain the momentum needed to change the course of the Scudetto race!
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