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December 12, 2012
• Juventus Stadium, Torino
Referee: M. Guida
• Attendance: 18932
S. Giovinco 57'
Having rested several key players for tonight's match, Ivo Pulga will be hoping that his gamble pays off when his side look to ease their relegation woes against Parma on Sunday. Juventus will be looking to extend their lead at the top of Serie A when they host Atalanta. That's all from me, Max Bentley. Until next time, goodbye!
FULL TIME: JUVENTUS 1 - 0 CAGLIARI. Antonio Conte marks his return to the Juventus Stadium with a victory and he joins in the post-match celebrations with his side, running to the fans and applauding them for their support. Juventus were not at their fluent best tonight and Giovinco profited from a slack piece of defending to score the game's only goal. In truth, Gianluigi Buffon was hardly troubled and it is Juventus who march on to the quarter-finals.
Yellow Card Thiago Ribeiro
There will be two minutes of stoppage time. Can Cagliari snatch a dramatic equaliser?
Alessandro Matri nearly breaks Cagliari hearts when he meets Giovinco's corner but it glances off of his shoulder and wide of Avramov's goal.
Juventus nearly snatch a second when Giovinco gets free down the left again but his cross is expertly cleared by Luca Rossettini.
The Juventus fans are in fine voice but there is a growing sense of unease here at the Juventus Stadium. Can they kill off this match?
Nicola Murru delivers a cross deep into the Juventus penalty area and Andrea Barzagli produces a vital header to prevent Marco Piredda from levelling the scores.
Yellow Card Gabriele Perico
Two chances in quick succession for the Biaconeri as Giovinco tricks his way past a defender before slicing a shot out for a throw, before Matri half-volleys De Ceglie's cross high over the bar.
SO CLOSE TO AN EQUALISER! Pablo Ceppelini manages to bundle his way to the byline before teeing the ball back across goal for Mauricio Pinilla, but the Chilean forward somehow pokes wide from a few yards out. Huge let-off for Juventus!
Kwadwo Asamoah wins a crunching challenge in the middle of the field, allowing Isla to gallop forward. The Chilean feeds in Matri on the right side of the box, but the former-Cagliari man cannot find Giovinco with his cutback. That was a promising opportunity for the hosts.
Simone Padoin delivers a corner from the right and Leonardo Bonucci towers highest to meet it, but sends his header wide of the post.
There is a stoppage in play as Sebastian Giovinco has taken a knock and will receive treatment. The goalscorer should be back on his feet in a moment.
Daniele Dessena has made an impact since his arrival in the second half and he looks to test Buffon again with a fierce drive but sees his effort rise over the crossbar.
CHANCE FOR CAGLIARI! Gabriele Perico whips in a teasing cross but it is just too far for Mauricio Pinilla, who was flying in at the back post. Still hope of a Cagliari comeback here. Twenty minutes remaining.
Alessandro Matri has not had a sight of goal since coming on and he looks to peel off Rossettini and towards the back post, but Giovinco cannot pick him out with the cross.
Sebastian Giovinco and Mauricio Isla look to play some neat football on the edge of the Cagliari penalty area but they cannot slip in that final pass. Can Juventus find that second goal which would effectively kill off this game?
Thiago Ribeiro has been wasteful for the Rossoblu today and he looks to pick out Mauricio Pinilla on the back post but sees his cross overhit for a goalkick. The camera pans to Ivo Pulga, who is clearly unimpressed.
FANTASTIC BLOCK FROM DEL FABRO! Isla finds Giovinco on the edge of the box and the Italian forward's effort is heading straight towards the bottom corner but he is denied by a brilliant last-ditch block from Del Fabro. He's kept his side in the game with that!
Cagliari threaten again when a corner is cleared to the edge of the box. Dessena's initial shot is well blocked before Rossettini snatches at his effort and sees it fly wide of Buffon's goal.
Cagliari look to respond immediately with Daniele Dessena, but his fizzing drive is excellently tipped around the post by Buffon.
Goal Sebastian Giovinco
Kwadwo Asamoah has the chance to shoot when he collects the ball on the edge of the box, but he opts to play a backheel into the path of a teammate and the ball is intercepted.
Matri looks to make a nuisance of himself from Giovinco's freekick, and he succeeds in evading his marker but can only head wide of the goal.
Thiago Ribeiro doesn't seem to have his shooting boots on today as he drifts in from the left again, jinking past two Juve players before firing high and wide of Buffon's goal.
Matri looks to play a neat one-two with Giovinco but the latter cannot control the return pass and Cagliari counterattack. Thiago Ribeiro finds space on the left hand side of the box but drags his shot wide of the post with numbers in the middle.
Paolo De Ceglie looks to drift a ball over the top of the Cagliari defence for Giovinco, but it runs too far and is collected by Avramov.
It's been a positive start to the second half for the Rossoblu but no chances to report of just yet. Which side can break the deadlock?
Here's some half-time analysis from my Goal.com correspondent, Daniel Edwards: "Cagliari have been caught on more than one occasion by the long ball over the top but they've been let off both by Juve's profligacy and the linesman's flag. Losing both Vidal and Bendtner in the first half is a big blow for Juve, a strain on the squad that they really don't need at this point." What did you make of that first half? Let me know your thoughts via Twitter @MaxBentley1.
HALF TIME: JUVENTUS 0 - 0 CAGLIARI. It has not been the happiest of returns for Antonio Conte so far but his side have shown glimpses in the opening 45 minutes that they have what it takes to win this match. Both Bendtner and Giovinco have been culpable of missing good opportunities but credit is due to this makeshift Cagliari side who have been well-disciplined and organised so far. All level at the break.
45' + 1'
Cagliari look to snatch a goal just before the break when Pablo Ceppelini finds space on the edge of the box, but his chipped pass cannot find the run of Thiago Ribeiro and Buffon comfortably claims. I think it's fair to say he's had a relatively easy 45 minutes.
Padoin produces a neat piece of skill to turn away from Ekdal and dashes towards the Cagliari box but the versatile Italian cannot pick out a black and white shirt.
Bendtner holds the ball up excellently to lay it off for Giovinco, but the 25-year old's touch lets him down when he advances on goal and he is easily dispossessed. Bendtner picked up a knock in the build-up to the move and immediately signalled to the bench that he could not continue.
Cagliari continue to defend bravely and they are beginning to frustrate the home side here. Isla's cross from the right is blocked by Rossettini before Giovinco miskicks the rebound.
Giovinco thinks he is onside when he controls Barzagli's lofted pass and he looks to lift the ball over the head of Avramov but he is denied by the linesman who adjudges that the striker had strayed marginally offside. That looked dubious.
Sebastian Giovinco whips in a corner to the front post but Paul Pogba's goalbound header ricochets off Albin Ekdal and behind for another corner. This time though, it comes to nothing. Ivo Pulga will be hoping his side can hold on until the break.
Yellow Card M. Pinilla
Nicola Murru is fortunate to escape a booking when he brings down Simone Padoin on the corner of the box, but from the resulting set-piece Giovinco wastefully overhits the cross for a goalkick.
Cagliari are slowly starting to feel their way into this match but Juventus continue to look dangerous when they attack. The away side launch a rare attack of their own when Mauricio Pinilla bombs down the left wing but his dangerous cutback is well cut out by Andrea Barzagli.
Paul Pogba, who is making a real impression in the Juventus midfield tonight, sprays a wonderful pass out to the right for Mauricio Isla, but the Chilean's audacious left-footed strike slices horribly wide of Avramov's goal.
Segundo Ibarbo spreads the play out excellently to Thiago Ribeiro and the Brazilian striker, who scored a hattrick in the previous round against Pescara, cuts inside Luca Marrone but drags his shot well wide of the post.
Padoin's initial corner is not cleared by the Cagliari defence and when Bonucci delivers the ball back into the box, Bendtner rises above his marker to make contact but somehow heads it the wrong side of the post. So close to opening his Juventus account.
Leonardo Bonucci looks to play a Pirlo-esque crossfield pass into the path of Kwadwo Asamoah, but former Biaconeri player Albin Ekdal reads the play expertly and executes a crucial interception.
GREAT SAVE FROM AVRAMOV! Giovinco's pace is starting to cause the Vagliari backline problems and he plays a smart pass into the path of Bendtner in the box, but the Dane's outside-of-the-foot nudge is well saved by the Serbian goalkeeper.
Sebastian Giovinco tries his luck again with a freekick from around 20 yards out, but his curled effort, searching for the bottom corner, is well saved by Avramov.
Yellow Card Sebastian Eriksson
Cagliari win a freekick just outside the Juventus box, but Mauricio Pinilla's powerful effort cannot beat the wall and Juventus counter.
FIRST CHANCE FOR CAGLIARI! Sebastian Eriksson lays the ball off on the edge of the box for Gabriele Perico but the Rossoblu captain fires wildly over the bar.
There is a stoppage in play as Arturo Vidal requires medical treatment. The Chilean will not be able to continue.
Paolo De Ceglie marauds down the left-hand side before whipping in an inviting cross to the front post, which Nicklas Bendtner does not quite anticipate and the tall Danish forward sees the ball ricochet off of him and behind for a goalkick.
JUVENTUS ARE GETTING CLOSER! Nicklas Bendtner drops deep to collect a pass from midfield before cutting inside the challenge of Dario Del Fabro and firing a curled effort inches wide of the post.
Juventus continue to come forward in these early stages and Simone Padoin unleashes a shot from distance but it ricochets off a defender and safely into the path of Avramov.
Incidentally, there was a late change to the Juventus line-up as Emanuele Giaccherini sustained an injury in the warm-up. He has been replaced by Arturo Vidal.
GREAT CHANCE FOR GIOVINCO! Leonardo Bonucci splits the Cagliari defence with an incise ball from the half-way line which Giovinco surges onto in a flash, but the pacey forward cannot generate enough power on his effort and sees it saved comfortably by Avramov.
Cagliari are yet to enjoy a spell of sustained possession in this game and it is Juventus who push forward early on, in search of an opener. Ivo Pulga will be hoping his side can keep things tight for at least the opening 15 minutes.
A big game tonight for the likes of Paul Pogba, Simone Padoin, Emanuele Giaccherini and Nicklas Bendtner to stake a claim for a starting berth. Can they impress for Conte's side?
Sebastian Giovinco is bundled to the turf by Sebastian Eriksson and the Juve attacker picks himself up to take the resulting freekick, but sees it fly high over Vlada Avramov's crossbar.
Bright start to the match for Juventus who spring down the right wing with Mauricio Isla, but the Chilean cannot pick out a black and white shirt in the box.
Captains Gianluigi Buffon and Gabriele Perico have exchanged handshakes in the centre-circle and it is Juventus who will get this game underway.
Both managers have decided to rest key players for tonight's clash. Antonio Conte has left the likes of Giorgio Chiellini, Andrea Pirlo, Claudio Marchisio and Kwadwe Asamoah on the bench, handing a chance to some of his fringe players to impress. Ivo Pulga has also shuffled his pack, leaving first team regulars Radja Nainggolan, Nene, Daniele Conti, Davide Astori, Marco Sau, Andrea Cossu and Lorenzo Ariaudo out of the squad altogether.
Cagliari (4-2-3-1): Avramov; Perico, Rossettini, Del Fabro, Murru; Eriksson, Ekdal; Ibarbo, Ceppelini, Thiago Ribeiro; Pinilla. Subs: Agazzi, Camilleri, Russu, Dessena, Casarini, Piredda, Chelo.
Juventus (3-5-2): Buffon; Barzagli, Marrone, Bonucci; Isla, Padoin, Pogba, Giaccherini, De Ceglie; Bendtner, Giovinco. Subs: Rubinho, Branescu, Lichtsteiner, Caceres, Chiellini, Vidal, Pirlo, Marchisio, Asamoah, Vucinic, Matri.
Without any further ado, let's bring you tonight's team news starting with the home side...
Juventus were runners-up in the Coppa Italia last season, losing 2-0 to Napoli in the final and both players and staff have this week spoken of the desire to win the trophy for the first time since 1995. Cagliari have not won the Coppa Italia, but the Rossoblu did reach the final in 1968-69 when they were defeated by Roma. Can they pull off a shock upset tonight?
Juventus' quest for a record tenth Coppa Italia title starts tonight as they take on a Cagliari outfit who have already knocked out Spezia and Pescara in this year's competition. The match also marks a return to the Juventus Stadium for Antonio Conte, who has served his four-month suspension and who was on the touchline for the Bianconeri's 1-0 victory away at Palermo on the weekend. Reporting live on this round of 16 clash between Juventus and Cagliari from Turin, my name is Max Bentley.
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