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January 12, 2014
• Stadio Sant'Elia, Cagliari
Referee: M. Guida
• Attendance: 5000
M. Pinilla 21'
Llorente 31', 76'
C. Marchisio 73'
S. Lichtsteiner 80'
That's all we have time for, but we hope that you've enjoyed our live coverage of Juventus hard fought 4-1 victory over Cagliari in Sardinia, with Llorente stepping up to the plate with two goals. I've been Simon Harrison, and I hope to see you all again next time.
Two goals from Llorente, one for substitute Marchisio and one for Lichtsteiner. Three goals in seven minutes turned things around for the visitors, with the scoreline flattering the Old Lady somewhat. Regardless, it's three points for Juventus, with Cagliari losing goalscorer Pinilla to a red card in the late stages.
FULL TIME! Eleven consecutive wins for Juventus now, as the league leaders run out as 4-1 winners over Cagliari. The hosts took the lead through Pinilla, but unravelled in the second half, courtesy of some poor goalkeeping from Adan.
90' + 1'
Cagliari are happy to see the clock run down, as they're a man down and have no way of getting back into this game. There are two minutes of stoppage time.
Astori and Pogba now share a moment of frustration, as the Cagliari defender grabs the neck of the Frenchman's shirt, much to the displeasure of the former Man United midfielder. This second half has been niggly and competitive, that's for sure.
Red CardM. Pinilla
RED CARD! Pinilla has been red carded, but it's unclear as to why! The referee reached for his pocket and sent the Chilean for an early bath, much to the distaste of the hosts' goalscorer. He remonstrates with the match official, but he's clearly said something he shouldn't have.
Ibarbo goes down injured, after clashing with Chiellini's knee, and the Colombian might have picked up a dead leg as the defender's knee appeared to strike his thigh.
Juventus are happy to retain possession, passing the ball around composedly, but Caceres plays an awful crossfield ball out of play under limited pressure. Cagliari have been undone, and haven't been able to string together an attack since Sau was withdrawn.
Conte chooses to substitute two key players in the last ten minutes, with Giovinco and Padoin getting their chance to impress and see out this important victory. Both will be willing runners behind the pairing of Llorente and Tevez.
Caglari's goalkeeper certainly is to blame for his side unravelling, as he has made two terrible errors to gift Juventus the equaliser, and now another goal which won't help their goal difference. It's only his second appearance of the season, but Lopez won't be happy with him.
Yellow CardDaniele Dessena
GOOOOOOOOAL! JUVENTUS MAKE IT FOUR, THEY LEAD 4-1! Lichtsteiner bundles home, after Adan couldn't handle a strong shot from Llorente. The former Real Madrid goalkeeper has thrown away all of his side's good work in this second half. Awful spill.
After such a hard fought game, Juventus have a lead they are very unlikely to surrender. Conte's men look to be on their way to an 11th consecutive Serie A win, and will maintain their lead at the top of the pile. Two goals for Llorente, despite the Spain international being rather quiet after the break.
GOOOOOOOAL! IT'S THREE, LLORENTE HAS TWO! Excellent move from the league leaders, as Vidal exchanges a one-two with Lichtsteiner, before the Swiss strokes the ball to the back post to allow the Spaniard to pass the ball home unmarked.
Juventus have something to defend now, and Conte knows what an important goal that was. The Juve manager went ballistic on the sidelines, hugging his assistants, causing their tactical notes to fly up in the air and cause something of a snowstorm. Cagliari have 15 minutes to find an equaliser.
GOOOOOOOOOOAL! MARCHISIO BLASTS JUVENTUS INTO THE LEAD! It took something from nothing, but what a strike from the substitute! He rifles an effort into the top corner from 30 yards, and Adan could have done far better!
Half chance for Tevez! The Argentine is picked out by a square ball from Lichtsteiner, but shies away from meeting the ball with his head, with several Cagliari defenders lurking in close proximity. Juventus look like they're struggling to break down this close-knit side.
Excellent punch by Buffon, who clears his lines firmly. The tempo which Cagliari have maintained throughout this game has been very impressive. Lichtsteiner continues to test Murru down the right flank, but the Swiss is yet to really get the better of his marker, who is blocking plenty of his deliveries.
As has been the theme of the second half, Juventus continue to dominate, but Cagliari stand firm. They're remaining very compact, breaking when they can. Pinilla is picked out by a long ball, breaking well, before cutting inside Bonucci and deflecting his cross off the Italian for a home corner.
Cagliari make their first change of the afternoon, choosing to freshen things up in attack, as opposed to making a negative change. Tevez lays Vidal in behind the hosts' defence with an intelligent ball around the corner, but the Chile international is flagged offside as he went through one-on-one.
POGBA! Again, the trigger-happy Frenchman lets fly after beating his man, but Adan collects easily at the near post. Juve have plenty of the ball but not too many ideas. They do possess the quality to create something from nothing, however.
PINILLA! Terrible effort from the Cagliari goalscorer! He scuffs it entirely, after Buffon cleared unconvincingly, with the veteran goalkeeper narrowly off his line. Chiellini has a few words of criticism for his teammate, and rightly so. Ibarbo is being readied on the sidelines for the home side.
Less than half an hour remaining, and Juventus are still labouring, in search of their second goal of the afternoon. Adan is much the busier goalkeeper, but Juve are being frustrated. Llorente hasn't been found as regularly in the second half, and their goal threat has somewhat vanished with him.
This continues to devolve into a physical battle, with Juventus now matching their opponents in terms of strong challenges and niggling fouls. Cagliari are the masters of picking up points at home, and are incredibly hard to beat in this stadium. Juventus are finding out the hard way.
Juventus are dominating possession, but Cagliari are keeping their opponents caged in their own half for long periods. Tevez has another good effort, after being found on the edge of the box by Vidal, but again the ball hurtles straight at Adan.
TEVEZ! Great effort from the Argentine! He pivots excellently on the edge of the penalty area, before dipping a powerful effort towards goal from 18 yards. It stings the palms of Adan, who has to collect at the second time of asking.
Yellow CardAndrea Cossu
Nervy moments for the Old Lady! Lichtsteiner lays the ball back to Caceres, but the Uruguayan plays an outrageously heavy backpass back to Buffon. The Italy international is forced to slice the ball out of play for a throw in. Cagliari are continuing to press intensely.
Vidal is warned by the referee for a tug on Ekdal's shirt, but Juve are putting up much more of a physical fight in the second half. Tempers rise after the challenge, with Bonucci and Cossu arguing over the position of the free kick.
The visitors are beginning to give as good as they're getting in the physical battle, and Juve have started the second half brightly. Lichtsteiner continues to be their best outlet, which is becoming somewhat predictable for Ekdal and Murru to close down.
Pinilla goes down exaggeratedly after losing out on a header to Bonucci, and the Chilean predictably doesn't need any treatment. Juventus are continuing to move the ball at pace, but the home side's pressing is still proving to be rather hard for the league leaders to adjust to.
Llorente is punished for a strong challenge on Rossettini, as the former Bilbao man came through the back of his marker. Juventus are starting the second half the better of the two sides, but Cagliari are showing no signs of slowing down their frenetic approach.
We are back underway in the second half, as Cagliari look to build upon a very encouraging opening 45 minutes in Sardinia. The stadium may be rather empty, and they may have sold Nainggolan, but Lopez's side are proving to be a real tough nut for the Juventus steamroller to crack.
Sau and Pinilla have been popping up in dangerous areas for the home side, and just because they've equalised, doesn't mean that Conte's side are out of the woods yet. Juventus have been second-best for long periods, with Lichtsteiner being their only regular form of chance creation.
Cagliari have been highlighted as a tough team to play away from home, and Lopez's men have matched this description well in the opening 45 minutes. Buffon has been the busier of the two goalkeepers, and there seems to be a genuine sense of belief among the players in red and blue.
HALF TIME! Both teams find the net, as Juventus continue their outrageous scoring streak. Cagliari took the lead through Pinilla, but the league leaders couldn't be kept at bay, with Llorente guiding home an excellent equalising header.
LICHTSTEINER! An excellent chance for the wing-back, but he balloons it over the bar with his weaker foot! Asamoah cut the ball back to the edge of the penalty area, after being released by Pogba following some neat skill by the young midfielder, but his teammate couldn't capitalise.
A few minutes until half time, and Cagliari will be very pleased with their first half showing. They've only conceded a few chances to the league leaders, and Adan has been relatively untested. Tevez is found by Lichtsteiner after good running from the Swiss, but he fails to turns the cross home first-time from 10 yards out.
VIDAL! Well held by Adan! The Chilean pops up on the right flank, strikes firmly across goal from 25 yards, but it's straight at Adan. He smothers it excellently, not spilling any scraps for the lurking Juventus strikeforce.
Good play by Cagliari! The ball is worked down the left flank, before finding its way to the feet of Sau in the penalty area. The striker sets the ball back to Pinilla, but the Chilean fails to control, with the ball rolling over his foot. The underdogs continue to impress here.
Rossettini puts in an important foot to scramble the ball away from Tevez, as a flick around the corner by Llorente looks to find the Argentine in the penalty area. Cagliari have defended resolutely, but they need to get tight to Llorente, the Basque striker is pulling the strings upfront.
POGBA! The former Man United midfielder tries his luck from range, but whistles his effort well wide of the target. Llorente has been playing well, but Tevez has been rather anonymous for the past 20 minutes or so, not offering much to support his strike partner.
Conte has remained glued to the edge of his technical area for the entire half, barking out instructions for his side who are struggling against spirited opposition. They may not be in a full stadium, but it's clear that Lopez has managed to piece together a side who believe in their own ability to grind out a result.
GREAT SAVE! Buffon is at his best to turn away Dessena's close-range header, diverting the ball away from danger with his knee. Juventus don't deserve to be level, but Llorente's goal hasn't demoralised the home side, they remain in high spirits.
GOOOOOOOAL! LLORENTE EQUALISES TO MAKE IT 1-1 IN SARDINIA! That's his eighth of the season, and it couldn't have come at a better time for the away side! Lichtsteiner delivers from the right, before Llorente rises brilliantly, guiding the cross into the top right hand corner! The Basque flags are flying in the Juventus support!
Great defending from Astori! He stood up tall to prevent Llorente from turning inside the penalty area, after the Italian central defender initially gifted Juventus the ball. The Spaniard looks to drive to the byline, but Astori matches him all the way, and shepherds it out.
PINILLA! The goalscorer tries his luck for the second time of the afternoon, cutting in from the left hand side and firing a dipping effort towards goal. It bounces off the turf, and forces Buffon to parry the ball away from danger.
SAU! Good goalkeeping from Buffon, who races off his line to rob the ball off the boot of the onrushing Cagliari striker. Sau was perhaps offside, but certainly got in behind the Juventus back line with ease once again.
Despite early dominance, Juventus have been stopped in their tracks by a hard-working Cagliari outfit. The home side are chasing every ball, pressing with vigour and look determined to perhaps grab a second. Once you find one goal against Juventus, you begin to believe anything is possible.
ASTORI! Narrowly over the bar from the tall defender, who meets the corner delivery with a powerful header. Buffon probably had it covered, but it's only just off target. Cagliari certainly have the impetus now.
EKDAL! The Swedish midfielder ambitiously lets fly from 30 yards, and sees his effort deflected behind for another Cagliari corner. The home supporters are responding to any dead ball situation their side pick up, as they know the visitors aren't infallible.
The home crowd are in good voice now, as the league leaders are stunned by an opener from Cagliari! It's rare for the hosts to find the net, and it's even rarer for the Old Lady to concede, let alone first. It took a set piece to find the breakthrough, but nobody linked to the side from Sardinia will mind.
Yellow CardMartín Cáceres
GOOOOOOAL! PINILLA GIVES THE HOSTS THE LEAD, 1-0 CAGLIARI! He was unmarked at the back post, and slots the ball beyond Buffon to score an important goal for the home side! Chiellini misjudges the flight of the ball, and Pinilla is on hand to capitalise.
Good work from Cossu, as the advanced midfielder robs Pirlo of possession, before driving at the visiting back three. He slips the ball wide to Sau, who beats Chiellini to the byline, but his square ball is put behind for a corner kick by Bonucci.
Juventus are moving the ball at a good tempo in the opening 20 minutes, with the partnership of Llorente and Tevez clunking into action. Lichtsteiner is found on the right hand side yet again, feeding a good ball across the six yard box, but nobody in white and black is on hand to turn the ball home. Adan collects easily.
Cagliari pick up a free kick in a dangerous area, with Conti standing over the dead ball from 25 yards. It strikes the wall, with the rebound falling to Pisano, but the Italian fires the loose ball wide, with the aid of a deflection from Sau.
Good ball from Pogba! The young France international clips a great delivery towards the penalty spot, as Lichtsteiner tucks in from the right hand side and looks to challenge with his marker. The Swiss misses his header, however, and Adan collects.
VIDAL! The Chilean is played in behind the lines, after being fed in by Llorente, but he can't pick out a good cross after reaching the byline - and it's put behind for a corner. The set piece is taken, but the hosts clear.
Tevez and Llorente exchange possession in close quarters, at the edge of the penalty area, but the latter can't return the ball to his Argentine strike partner. Astori is able to clear, after Tevez gets the ball stuck under his feet somewhat.
Llorente goes to ground after Conti accidentally treads on the ankle of the Spaniard, but he'll be fine to continue. The home side have managed to repel the past few Old Lady attacks with ease, and look to piece together their own passage of play. A long ball in search of Sau heads all the way through to Buffon.
The opening ten minutes have gone according to plan for Conte, with Buffon being given nothing to do in the opening stages. Cagliari are yet to create anything in terms of going forward, with Sau being an isolated figure. Lopez's men will be happy with a draw, it seems.
Pogba does little to appease the home fans, dragging Rossettini to the ground after the Cagliari defender got the better of him. The young Frenchman has been able to push into advanced areas from the very start, highlighting Juventus' positive start.
Conte's men have started the game in bustling fashion, seeing plenty of the ball early on, and pushing their wing-backs forward bravely. Pogba feeds the ball inside to Pirlo, who strikes from just outside the box, but the veteran drags his effort wide of the target.
Juventus dominate the early stages, with Sau only being sent on his way on once occasion, but the Italian forward was physically dominated by Chiellini. Lichtsteiner has seen plenty of possession in the early stages, but this time the Swiss wing-back is dispossessed by Murru.
Despite the lack of fans, the home crowd are doing their best to be heard, with smoke bombs and the boom of pyrotechnics filling the air. The away side are on the front foot from the start, with Rossettini making an unforced error to gift possession back to the Old Lady.
LLORENTE! First chance of the afternoon falls to the Spaniard! Juventus spread the ball to the right flank, before Lichtsteiner whips in a dangerous cross. The former Bilbao striker gets up well, but can only direct his header straight at his compatriot Adan in the opposition goal.
And we are underway in the first half, in a rather eerie Stadio Sant'Elia, given the attendance. The home fans are doing their best to create an intimidating atmosphere, but it's tough given the amount of seats which are cordoned off. Juventus are in excellent form, but Cagliari are no pushovers at home.
Despite playing in a far-from full capacity stadium, Cagliari have lost only once at home during the current campaign. The hosts have struggled for goals, with Juventus boasting a fantastic record of conceding once in the last ten games. The statistics don't make good reading for the hosts, but they will be confident of their ability to grind out a draw.
Just under ten minutes until kick-off, and we should be promised a good game in Sardinia this afternoon. Despite Cagliari's lack of scoring instinct during recent matches, Juventus haven't experienced a goalless draw in 43 matches, meaning that we should see plenty of offensive action. The steamroller of the Old Lady is well on course at the start of 2014, but the home side know that even a point would be a great result.
Only 5,000 spectators will be present at today's game, due to construction work at the stadium, which should make for an odd atmosphere. Cagliari are unbeaten in their last seven matches, and today could prove to be a vital test of Juventus' title credentials. As the cliche goes, title-winning sides can grind out wins even without playing well, against tough opposition. Conte will hope his side can pick up this trait during the course of the current campaign.
Juventus substitutes: Ogbonna, Pepe, Marchisio, Vucinic, Giovinco, Peluso, Padoin, Quagliarella, Storari, Rubinho.
Juventus starting line-up: Buffon; Caceres, Bonucci, Chiellini; Lichtsteiner, Vidal, Pogba, Pirlo, Asamoah; Tevez, Llorente.
Cagliari substitutes: Danilo Avelar, Ibraimi, Cabrera, Ibarbo, Perico, Avramov, Del Fabro.
Cagliari starting line-up: Adan; Pisano, Rossettini, Astori, Murru; Dessena, Conti, Ekdal; Cossu; Pinilla, Sau.
TEAM NEWS: Nene, Sebastien Eriksson and Michael Agazzi are sidelined for the home side, with a gaping hole in the centre of midfield left by their star midfielder Radja Nainggolan. The Belgian was sold to Roma this month. The club's owner isn't afraid to sell members of his squad for the right price, so Pulga could expect to have a much-different team by the end of the transfer window.
TEAM NEWS: Martin Caceres is drafted into the three-man defence in place of Andrea Barzagli, with Conte sticking with his preferred strongest starting eleven. Andrea Pirlo starts amid rumours that the veteran maestro has signed a new two-year contract at the Turin club. Mirko Vucinic is on the bench, despite the Montenegrin scoring against today's opposition the last time the two sides met.
I'm Simon Harrison, and I will be keeping you updated with all of the action from Stadio Sant'Elia, as Cagliari host the league leaders. The home side are unbeaten in their last five games, but have won merely once in this period, while Juventus have managed four wins out of their last respective five matches. Goals have been hard to come by for the hosts, drawing 0-0 twice in the last three matches, but the Old Lady have scored in 31 consecutive games.
Hello and welcome to live coverage of Juventus' trip to face Cagliari in Serie A, as Antonio Conte's side look to stay eight points clear of Roma at the top of the pile. The Old Lady's victory against their title rivals last week has given today's visitors some breathing room, but a win for Ivo Pulga's team could potentially position the Sardinian club nicely in the top half of the table.
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