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27 November 2011
• Stadio Olimpico, Roma
Referee: G. Rocchi
• Attendance: 57148
S. Pepe 34'
It was a first half Pepe goal that was the difference, and with it Juventus go top of Serie A. I've been Alex Mott, thank you for joining me. Good night
90' + 4'
And that's it. The referee blows for full-time and Juventus have beaten Lazio 1-0.
90' + 2'
It's a long throw from Lazio, but it fails to reach the box, and Juve clear easily.
Four minutes of stoppage time have been given.
Juve are keeping the ball expertly now. With a minute plus stoppages to go, it looks like Juve's to lose.
Cisse has a header saved. His partner Klose whips in a ball from the left wing, but the former Liverpool man's header is weak, and Buffon saves easily.
A beautiful ball from Marchisio finds Matri just outside the box, and with his second touch fires the ball across Marchetti's goal, but also inches past the post.
Matri does fantastically well to hold up the ball. He then plays a one-two with Pepe, and with his next touch takes the ball past Diakite. Now on the right flank, he sees Giaccherini in space inside the box, but the ball is hit too hard, and it goes out for a goal kick.
Yellow Card Giuseppe Sculli
It's Lazio who are having most of the possession now. The constant stream of attacks though, are being dealt with easily by the Juventus backline.
The referee gets in the way of a Lazio attack, and then gives the home side a free kick for an entirely nondescript tackle from Vidal. The ball though is dreadful, and Juve clear easily.
GREAT SAVE FROM MARCHETTI. A smart turn from Giaccherini finds him in space inside the box, but his first time shot is saved brilliantly from Marchetti down low to his right.
A deep cross from Lulic is aimed towards Klose; but the German international can't quite get the better of Chiellini, and the ball goes out for a goal kick.
As the final quarter of the game approaches here at the Olimpico, it's Pirlo who is trying to stamp his own pace on the game. Languid pass after languid pass is being exchanged by the Juve players, and you get the sense that they would be more than happy if the game ended now.
Yellow Card Cristian Ledesma
As the game pauses for an injury, now would be a good time to remind you that @alexjmott is the place to go to comment on everything that's happened tonight.
Djibril Cisse, who hasn't scored in over 1,000 minutes of football is preparing to come on. But in the meantime, it's his strike partner Klose who goes closer than most (see what I did there). A first time effort outside the area squeezes past Buffon, but also past the post.
OOOHHH. Hernanes with a wonderful chance. Radu with a fantastic cross into the box finds the Brazilian, and his shot is smashed past Buffon, but only onto the post.
Juve are slowly getting back into this half. In their first real attacking phase of the half, Pirlo tries to thread a ball through to Marchisio, but the youngster can't quite get onto the end of it and the ball runs through for a goal kick.
Yellow Card Claudio Marchisio
It's a free kick to Lazio after a shirt pull on Hernanes by Marchisio 40m out. The ball though, is played deep, and the header by Konko is fired wide.
Hernanes once again at the centre of the action. This time, after a swift counter-attacking move, he tries to go alone insdie the box, when it was perhaps better suited to square to Klose.
Ohhhh. Hernanes looked certain to score, but his shot is blocked by Barzagli. Great play by Lulic down the right wing sees him square the ball to Hernanes on the edge of the box, but the Brazilian's shot is blocked wonderfully.
@Ilbocc has asked: "who has been the best player in the match so far?" On that first half alone, it would be a 50/50 shout between Matri and Lichtsteiner.
Juventus have their first chance of the half. A Marchisio ball is played into Matri's feet, and he uses his strength to turn Diakite, but his first time shot goes well wide of Marchett's post.
And we're back for the second half. Juventus, in that dainty pink number, are unchanged and go from left to right.
An absolutely brilliant half of football ends with Juventus leading 1-0. The scoreline could be anything up to 6-6 to be honest. The attacking play from both sides has been fantastic, but it's Pepe's goal that seperates the sides. Once again, do contact me via Twitter @alexjmott if you have anything to say regarding tonight's game. I'll be back in 15 minutes for the second half.
And that's it. Half time.
Matri intercepts a pass from Konko on the halfway line and goes on a galloping run towards goal. The three Lazio defenders can do very little with his pace, but the Italian is forced wide, and his shot trickles out for a goal kick.
The curse of the commentator as Pirlo loses the ball, and Rocchi, who stiole it off him, plays a ball throught to Klose, only for the German to be given offside.
The match-up between Pirlo and Hernanes has been truly fascinating this evening. And so far, Pirlo has the upper hand. The Italian sprays a ball out wide for Pepe, but the goalscorer takes a bad touch and the ball goes out for a throw-in.
Well, what a truly breathless game. In the last 90 seconds Hernanes has had a shot saved by Buffon, only for Juventus to go straght up the other end and miss a two-on-one opportunity at the back. This game could be 4-4.
Assist Alessandro Matri
Goal Simone Pepe
And what a wonderful goal it is. A quick counter-attacking move finds Matri on the left wing, and his early, low cross ends up in Pepe's path, who strokes home from eight yards to make it 1-0. Super stuff.
It's Juventus' turn to have a goal at goal, and Pepe needs no invitation. He strikes from 25m, low to Marchetti's left, but the 'keeper gets down well to save.
Lazio are peppering the Juventus goal with long-range efforts. This time it's Rocchi with shot, but his attempt goes wide of Buffon's right-hand post.
It's Hernanes with another effort. This time, a shimmy from Lulic takes him past Pirlo, he then squares the ball to the Brazilian, who strikes the ball from 30m on target, but Buffon saves well.
It's Lazio who are having the better of the play now. Hernanes has finally got into the game, and you have to say, for Lazio to get anything from this game, he has to play well.
Hernanes strikes a free kick from 25m just over the bar. The original foul was for a late challenge by Vidal on Rocchi. And the Brazilian stepped up, only for his shot to go agonisingly over the bar.
Pepe misses a fantastic chance. A wonder ball from Vidal finds Pepe on the right wing. He takes one touch, sprints past Konko, and hits the ball awkwardly over the bar from 12 yards. Should have done better.
ROCCHI WITH A WONDERFUL CHANCE. A chipped ball from Hernanes finds Rocchi 20m out, and with two touches takes the ball past Barzagli and Chiellini, and passes the ball under Buffon's body. The ball though has no pace on it, and Pepe comes back to clear.
An absolutely superb start for Juve who are playing an ultra-attacking high-intensity game, the type of which I don't think we've seen in Italy for a long time.
Konko gives away a free kick after a challenge from behind fells Vucinic 30m out. Pirllo though, has his effort saved superbly by Marchetti down to his left, and the rebound is mishit by Lichtsteiner, who sees his shot go wide.
Once again Lichtsteiner is involved, and once again it's another delicious cross into the box. This time Matri, who should have perhaps stepped over the ball, tries to strike it towards goal, but the effort goes just wide.
Juventus have finally asserted themselves on this game. This time, another cross from Lichtsteiner is overhit, and the ball runs away for a throw-in.
Juve have their first real chance of the game. Some fantastic play from Lichtsteiner sets up Marchisio, who, virtually unmarked inside the six yard box, heads wide.
Lulic, floating into the middle of the park, takes too long on the ball, and the industrious Matri sprints back and nicks the ball off him. Great work from Matri.
Chiellini, playing left back tonight, back heels a ball to Vucinic, who, from the left flank, tries to catch Marchetti unawares at his front post, but the 'keeper sees it safely wide. Audacious, but rubbish.
Lulic skips past Lichtsteiner, but the Swiss international gets a foot to the ball and concedes a corner. The resulting ball though is headed away by Barzagli and the danger is averted.
An awful pass by Stankevicius is cut out by Vucinic, but his pass to Matri, inside the area, is slightly behind the Italian, and the ball is cleared away.
Juve are wearing that horrific pink kit of theirs tonight. Is that the worst kit in world football? I can't think of many others that are worse!
Lazio, in their traditional light blue get us underway kicking from left to right.
The teams are entering the field to a huge roar, and the 60,000 fans that have packed inside here are clearly up for it. It promises to be a wonderful occasion. Do not go anywhere!
As this is the calm before the storm, I'll take this opportunity to remind you that if Twitter's your thing, @alexjmott is where to go to contact/abuse me on all things Lazio - Juventus, and Italian football.
Kick off is in less than 15 minutes now, and the atmosphere here at the Stadio Olimpico is bubbling up nicely. It's 3rd v 2nd. It's Reja v Conte. It's Lazio v Juventus. And it's live very shortly.
As for Juve, they may have sweated on the fitness of Andrea Pirlo, but the Italian, who has been ever-present in the Bianconeri midfield this season, does start after a late fitness test. (4-1-4-1) Buffon; Lichtsteiner, Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini; Pirlo; Pepe, Vidal, Marchisio, Vucinic; Matri.
The line-ups have been announced, and the main news as far as the hosts are concerned is the return of top-goalscorer, Miroslav Klose. The German missed the goalless draw with Napoli a week ago, but returns tonight to partner Rocchi up front. (4-3-1-2) Marchetti; Konko, Diakite, Stankevicius, Radu; Brocchi, Ledesma, Lulic; Hernanes; Klose, Rocchi.
Although both teams are in imperious form, the recent results between these two suggests there's really only one winner. Of the past 13 encounters between Lazio and Juventus, the Old Lady have won nine and drawn four, with the Biancocelesti not having scored more than two goals in their last 18 games against the Turin giants. Lazio though, have been superb recently, with Miroslav Klose proving to be one the best strikers on the peninsula with six goals, including that last minute winner against Roma last month.
It promises to be an absolutely fascinating encounter tonight between these two genuinly in-form clubs. The home side Lazio are now undefeated in their last nine games, whilst Juventus are ten games unbeaten. One of those records will go tonight. Unless it's a draw, of course. Kick off is at 19.45 GMT, so whilst your waiting around, do go and check out Keir Radnedge's wonderful article on the state of Italian stadia, and why teams such as Lazio need to follow Juve's example of building new, purpose-built grounds.
Good evening and welcome to the Stadio Olimpico for Goal.com's live, play-by-play coverage of Lazio - Juventus. I'm Alex Mott, and as is normally the case with these things, I'll be available to contact throughout the game via Twitter @alexjmott. All your comments will be welcomed with open arms, except those that claim I'm being biased against your team; I've had plenty of them, and they're boring.
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