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Italy - Serie A
25 April 2012
• Stadio Dino Manuzzi, Cesena
Referee: M. Guida
• Attendance: 16000
Much love to everyone who chimed in through Twitter, your comments and views made this all the more special. From me, Keeghann Sinanan, it's been a blast!
Borriello turns out to be the unlikely hero off the bench for Juve, striking with 10 minutes to go to sign, seal and deliver relegation for the hosts. Juve were not the only beneficiaries of a late goal today though, with Boateng's 86th minute breakthrough at San Siro enough for Milan to also claim 3 points against Genoa. The table remains as is, with the Bianconeri three points ahead of the Rossoneri, with four games to go.
90' + 3'
That's full time! Cesena become the first team to be relegated from Serie A this season.
90' + 2'
Del Piero attempts to replicate Ramires' sublime goal against Barcelona last night, but his lob from the edge of the box does not fool Antonioli, who grabs with ease.
90' + 1'
Yellow Card Vangelis Moras
90' + 1'
CLOSE! Giaccherini, who's been a real live wire in his cameo off the bench against his former club, races down the left and cuts back from the byline towards Vucinic, who is inches away from getting a touch on the ball!
Three minutes of injury time signaled to end the game. Juventus continue to press forward. Cesena are done, and deserve to be on this performance.
Here's one from @soozhay - "last night Torres scored and today borriello. Two unwanted players came off the bench and scored. Lesson learnt. Never hate :D." Touche, sir.
It's all Juve now as Cesena are unable to get the ball out of their own half. Relegation is all but rubber-stamped, and Giaccherini flashes a dangerous cross right over the face of goal that just misses the toes of Vucinic.
Cancel that, title race back on! Kevin Prince-Boateng has scored at San Siro, in the 86th minute, to put Milan ahead! We're back where we were at the start of play, because as things stand, Juve will maintain their three point lead.
Giaccherini sends a shot from 25 yards off target as Juventus look to make a strong finish to the game. A five point lead beckons as Milan are still being held 0-0 at home to Genoa.
The two substitutes, Del Piero and Borriello, make a priceless contribution to Juve's title charge. The former stuck the brilliant free kick that initially caused the danger, and also showed good awareness to scoop up the rebound and send it back into the area. The latter then comes up with the crucial strike.
Assist Mirko Vučinić
Goal Marco Borriello
GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAALLL!!! I take it all back Borriello!! The ball is sent right back into the mixer by Del Piero, Vucinic cushions a header, and Borriello catches it on the volley and sends it onto the bottom corner!
WHAT A SAVE! Del Piero's free kick is heading towards the top corner, but a strong palm from Antonioli pushes it back out! The pressure is not over, as Juve collect it on the flanks...
Free kick to Juve, 20 yards out. Pirlo is ushered aside for Del Piero...
Cesena get in on the sub action, DJokovic jogging off for Rossi.
Paolo De Ceglie
Alessandro Del Piero
Here comes the man from the bench, Del Piero, who has been wrapped in cotton wool for 74 minutes, comes on for De Ceglie. Remember the earlier comment about average talent up front? Well here comes Borriello to replace Matri.
Vidal sees a shot blocked by Moras, which falls into the path of Pirlo outside the box. He tries to lift it towards the far corner, it takes a deflection and flashes just wide!
Quick Twitter plug, @keeghann - get those comments in!
20 minutes to go and Juve are slowly turning the screw. Conte makes his first substitution, and it's not Del Piero, but Giaccherini, who comes on to a chorus of boos. Unsurprising, considering that he swapped the Dino Manuzzi for the Juventus Stadium last summer.
Pirlo again with another great delivery from a corner, Chiellini and De Ceglie attack the ball, but it ends up bouncing off the latter's shoulder and out.
A small period of panic in the Cesena box. Caceres' cross sparks a small game of head tennis, which ends when Marchisio blasts a shot off Moras and out. Small murmurs of handball there, but nothing but wishful thinking from the boys in pink.
Simone Del Nero
Guana is cautioned for going in too rough on Chiellini.
Off goes Del Nero, probably one challenge to many as he has been signalling to the bench to take him off for the last two minutes or so. On comes Arrigoni.
Yellow Card Roberto Guana
Cacares sprints forward and finds space down the right flank. He sends a cross in towards the far post, with De Ceglie lining up, but Benalouane does well to head clear.
Yellow Card Alessandro Matri
Del Nero takes another one for the team as the victim of a striker's challenge from Matri. Yellow for the Juventus man, who will miss the trip to Novara on the weekend. Worth noting that Del Nero has won about six free kicks so far, and has already coerced Pirlo and now Matri into the book.
One hour gone in the match so far. Patience has been the watchword for Juventus in the second half, who seem to be seeking the slow and steady route towards goal. But what of Cesena? As things stand, they're heading into Serie B. At 0-0, it's worth a shot to go gung-ho to save their season, surely?
Matri and Vucinic try to string together passes in a bid to break Cesena down through the centre. First one pass, then two, but the third pass is not up to par and Rodriguez clears.
Yellow Card Andrea Pirlo
Pirlo becomes the latest entry into the referee's notebook after tripping up Del Nero on an attempted Cesena break.
..Moras gets up really well in the wall to get his head on Pirlo's free kick. He's paid the price for his bravery though, as he goes down on the deck clutching his forehed from the force of impact.
Juve free kick in a good position, dead centre, given after Marchisio is felled. 22 yards out, and Pirlo stands over it...
This time, Matri does put the ball into the net after a square from Vucinic, but is called, correctly, for offside.
OFF THE LINE! How did that not go in? Antonioli, that's how! Matri is played in by a lifted ball that catches the entire Cesena back four ball-watching, and squeezes a shot towards goal. It slips under Antonioli's body initially, but he recovers fantastically well to claw the ball right off the goalline!
Half a chance there for Cesena. Chiellini's header from a cross is no convincing, leading to an open snapshot from Ceccarelli which is, unfortunately, blocked by one of his teammates. That was heading on target, too.
Del Piero is spotted warming up on the touchline and will most likely make a cameo in the second half as the partnership of Matri and Vucinic, despite a strong start, had not really set the match on fire. It's ridiculous, and borderline treason that Del Piero's contract will not be renewed at the end of the season. After all he's been through with the Bianconeri. And he still has a role to play. Not a classy move at all from Juventus. End rant.
Remember, that Cesena will be relegated here without a win, and even victory may not be enough depending on other results.
Here we go again!
Before we restart, remember to keep the dialogue going on twitter @keeghann. I've enjoyed all of your input so far so keep those tweets coming!
0-0 here between the top and bottom sides in Serie A. Juve, as expected, have been the better side, but haven't really shown enough cut and thrust to take the lad after an encouraging start. The penalty farce in the 8th minute is the main talking point, Moras penalized for a handball despite the infraction occurring outside the box. Pirlo missed it to restore sanity though, and a further wasted header from Vucinic was about as close as Juve came. I'll be back in a bit for the second half, so stay tuned!
45' + 3'
Last attack of the half belongs to Cesena, who string a few passes together between Djokovic and Ceccarelli, but Rennella wastes possession with a blast way over the bar. Half time.
45' + 1'
Three minutes of added time are signaled to end the half as Pirlo fizzes a free kick high and wide.
Chiellini with a hopeful ball forward from defence that is aimed towards Vucinic. A combination of the weight of the pass and Vucinic's own first touch sees the ball touch harmlessly into the path of Antonioli.
Yellow Card Vincenzo Rennella
Rennella enters the referee's notebook for laying out Vidal on the turf.
Vucinic fires over the bar from a tight angle. It was a decent opening initially. No prizes for guessing who set up the chance.
Great run through midfield by Rennella, who skips pass the challenge of Marchisio with ease, leading to a 3-on-4 break. However, his pass to the onrushing Del Nero is poor, takes a touch off Chiellini, and is then intercepted by Barzagli.
DE CEGLIE! How did he not hit the target! Another sublime ball by Pirlo is curled in towards the far post, and is met by De Ceglie's head. However, he bounces it down off the ground and over the bar. Bad miss.
@ferrari_juve355 seems to agree with my earlier sentiment - "Juve lack the cutting edge. Trezeguet was never replaced properly". Fair point, there's been a lot of average talent up front since the glory days of Trezegol.
Things have certainly slowed to a crawl in the last few minutes. There is not as much movement from Juventus as in the earlier exchanges, and Cesena look more comfortable defending. In fact, they've bene able to make a few forays into the Juve half, not causing any danger, but nevertheless positive.
Yellow Card Arturo Vidal
Vidal gets a rush of blood and charges into the back of Del Nero, earning him an immediate yellow card from the ref. Reckless tackle, and the booking fully warranted.
Bad news for Cesena, as their captain Colucci is unable to continue. It looks like he's done his hammy, and Guana is summoned from the bench as a replacement.
Thanks to @RabeaMakhoul, who is clearly disgruntled with Juve, for his input on Twitter - "Juventus complains a lot about that Milan gets more penalties, but as far as I see it; it's only because Juventus miss them."
Vucinic should have made it 2-0. Pirlo delivers a corner to the near post, and he has a free header from the six yard box. But he plants it high and wide. No excuses there.
Pirlo releases Vucinic down the right hand side, who lifts his head and spots Matri running into the box. However, the Montenegrin's low cross is too far in front of his fellow forward, and is smothered by Antonioli.
Remember to keep those tweets coming in @keeghann
Pirlo picks out Marchisio superbly, who makes a diagonal run towards goal from the right flank. He cuts inside and creates an inch of space for the shot, but sends it into orbit.
Milan, meanwhile are still goalless in their game against Genoa, wich is running simultaneously to the contest here at the Stadio Dino Manuzzi
Great running again from De Ceglie, who holds the ball up and tees up Matri on the edge of the area.Juventus spread the ball around well, with Lichtsteiner, Pirlo and Marchisio all getting touches, but the move breaks down when Vucinic's heavy first touch allows Moras to clear.
Cesena win a free kick around the halfway line, and unsurprisingly pile bodies forward in a bid to steal a goal. Santana's delivery is a bit off, and headed out for a corner, which fizzles out into nothing.
Matri is about a step away from being put clean through after a one touch pass from Pirlo into his path. Rodriguez does just enough to put him off though, and Antonioli can come out to claim the ball.
Juventus have unsurprisingly controlled play so far, but the tempo of the game had died down ever so slightly, with Cesena piling everyone back in their own half to stifle the game. This gives the home side a bit of time to get their bearings.
Matri and Vucinic are looking very dangerous so far, adopting a number of threatening positions and pulling the Cesena defenders all over the place.
Pirlo attempts to make amends by delivering from the right after finding space, but Moras manages to get his head to it and clear. Cesena attempt to counter through Santana, but Caceres cuts him out.
Missed Penalty Andrea Pirlo
MISS! Justice is done after all as Pirlo's low strike towards the bottom corner bounces off the post!
Yellow Card Giuseppe Colucci
Shocking decision from the ref there. Vucinic held the ball up against Moras and the defender did handle the ball, but this all took place about two feet OUTSIDE the box, in the D. The decision looked for a second like it could be overturned, but the ref stands by his decision, and books Colucci for dissent.
Santana hits another delivery right into the six yard area, but it catches everyone by surprise and flashes out for a goal kick.
...The delivery is headed clear by Chiellini, but Cesena retain possession and force another corner, this time as Barzagli tries in vain to prevent a deflection from crossing the byline.
Corner to Cesena after Satana is isolated against Caceres near the left corner flag. The defender gets a foot to it and puts it over the line...
Matri this time turns provider, and releases Vucinic on the run down the left flank. He's about to ping in a cross from the byline, but Rodriguez gets across in time to cover and block out the ball.
De Ceglie making progress down the left and tries to put the ball into Matri's feet at the top of the box. But the striker is too static and Cesena cut it out.
Colucci blasts it low and wide of the goal, nothing more than a half chance at best.
Juventus back in those ridiculous pink shirts, and already concede a free kick for a foul on Del Nero.
And we're off!!!
The teams are on the pitch and we're minutes away from the jump...
Thoughts, comments, questions, wisecracks? I want them all. Hit me up @keeghann, and I'll do my best to keep the party going on Twitter throughout the match. No shout outs, though.
Jorge Martinez, Martinho and Daniel Pudil all miss out for Cesena due to injury, and Guillermo Rodriguez is drafted in for the suspended Steve Von Bergen. Tough times ahead for sure.
Antonio Conte makes only two changes from the XI that pulverized Roma 4-0, with Matri coming in for the suspended Quagliarella, while Lichtsteiner is replaced on the right by Caceres
Subs: Ravaglia, Lauro, Benalouane, Arrigoni, Del Nero, Lolli, Filippi.
Cesena (4-3-1-2): Antonioli; Ceccarelli, Moras, Rodriguez, Comotto; Guana, Colucci, Parolo; Santana, Malonga, Rennella.
Subs: Storari, Lichtsteiner, Padoin, Marrone, Giaccherini, Borriello, Del Piero.
Juventus (3-5-2): Buffon; Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini; Caceres, Vidal, Pirlo, Marchisio, De Ceglie; Matri, Vucinic.
Before we go any further, here are tonight's lineups...
It's Serie A's first vs worst at the Stadio Dino Manuzzi. Juventus are in blistering form, having won six games on the trot to open up a three point lead over Milan at the top. They are heavy favorites to make it seven against a sinking Cesena outfit, six points 'clear' at the foot of table, whose relegation seems about the only certainty in this crazy Serie A season.
Greetings one and all, and welcome to Goal.com's live coverage of the Serie A clash between Cesena and Juventus! I'm Keeghann SInanan, delighted to bring you the play by play, so stay tuned!
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