Singapore, August 16: Juventus completed their Asia-Australia pre-season tour with an entertaining 5-0 victory over Singapore Selection on Saturday - the first football match to be staged at the new National Stadium at the iconic Singapore SportsHub.
Following last Wednesday’s 8-1 win in Jakarta, Indonesia, over Indonesian Super League All-Stars and Sunday’s 3-2 win against A-League All Stars in Sydney, Australia, this “hat-trick” clearly underlines to Bianconeri supporters and football lovers that the Italian league champions are ready for the new Italian and European season.
“Looking at this three-leg tour, I must say that players adapted well to differing weather and playing conditions and I’m very satisfied with their performances in Jakarta, Sydney and Singapore,” said Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri.
Tactical fluency was the overall key to the fluid performance of Juventus as the difference between the two teams, but Singapore Selection did what they could and put on a great performance for the crowd marking this historic football match. Italian World Cup hero-midfielder Andrea Pirlo was the playmaker with two classic touches for the 2-0 halftime lead – the first goal in the 19th minute with a powerful low free kick from the left-edge of the penalty-area and the second goal in the 42nd minute from the penalty-spot after Fernando Llorente was unfairly brought down.
Juventus tightened their defences in the second half, against an energetic Singapore team, and within seven minutes of the start of the second half, scored another two goals through Paul Pogba (49th minute) and Sebastian Giovinco (52nd minute). The 4-0 lead allowed coach Allegri to replace Pirlo in the 58th minute, to the rounding applause of the 27,338 strong crowd. The bearded macho-looking Pirlo was overwhelmingly the crowd’s favourite and won the Gillette ‘Man of the Match’ award.
The stadium cheered again in the 71st minute when an unmarked Kwadwo Asamoah hit a superbly struck ball from the middle of the penalty-area. Singapore Selection substitute keeper Izwan Mahbud
came on and had a string of brilliant late saves to avoid a further deficit as Juventus relentlessly maintained the pressure in the closing stages of the match.
The crowds continued to support both teams in this curtain raiser to future matches, including the upcoming Japan v Brazil game which was announced at half time with a Brazilian drum procession. Ticket holders were offered discounts for the October 14 match by registering their interest on Japan v Brazil Facebook page or www.wsgworld.com/JvB.
Singapore’s German coach Bernd Stange said: “The result is not the most important thing for a friendly against a top-class team like Juventus. It is the experience of playing against such a high-level opponent, which is rare, that is most important for the players’ development, both individually and as a team.
“Regularly playing against tough opposition like the teams we recently faced in Austria, today against Juventus, and our participation in the upcoming Asian Games (in Incheon, South Korea) can only be beneficial to our players.”
He remarked that he was happy the Singapore fans could “see that our players always give their best efforts for every match we play in”.