While the majority of Juventini feel they were robbed by a man with a Sac (sorry, had to get that out of the way), what hasn’t been highlighted so luminously is that there was an exceptional Juventus on show last night, one that proved that they are on the same level as champions and Scudetto favourites Inter.
It can be argued that this was the Bianconeri’s best performance of the season so far, only that luck was not on their side. Ciro Ferrara’s men travelled to perhaps the third strongest team in Italy on current form and played them off the park for long stretches. Juve created numerous clear-cut chances, with Amauri missing two headed sitters from six yards, and Iaquinta squandering a one-on-one and slipping while all alone at the back post.
Then, of course, there were the two disallowed goals. The second from Giorgio Chiellini was debatable depending on the current interpretation of the offside law, which I have given up trying to follow. The first from Iaquinta at 1-1 with 16 minutes to go was clearly legitimate, and to add insult to injury Genoa went straight down the other end seconds later to take the lead through substitute Hernan Crespo.
"Why was my goal disallowed?"
The hosts forced Gianluigi Buffon into just one save all night, a long-range effort from Giuseppe Sculli midway through the second half, and scored with their only two openings of the game – which happened to be unstoppable world class headers into the top corner.
As Ferrara noted, “I saw a Juventus that played very well. We deserved the victory.
“Even though the result is a little negative, it makes us understand that we're on the right track.”
Buffon and Felipe Melo echoed their coach’s thoughts.
“We gave little away against a team like Genoa, and this is our biggest regret. However, we have proven that we are a great team yet again,” said the goalkeeper.
"I am very angry, because we let two points slip away that we deserved to have. We did well, and with this squad, we can do great things," added the Brazilian hardman.
Ferrara has certainly brought a real mental toughness to this side. Last season under Claudio Ranieri, Juve wouldn’t have recovered from the psychological blow of falling behind just seconds after having a good goal disallowed. Ferrara was described by one Italian journalist earlier this week as “part-Marcello Lippi, part-Fabio Capello” – you cannot receive a greater compliment than that.
Ferrara learned from Lippi
With Inter having dominated Italian football so emphatically since the Calciopoli crisis, this season will be the first where another club is strong enough to knock them off their Scudetto perch.
Weighing up the strengths and weaknesses of Inter and Juventus shows how little there is to separate the two clubs. Julio Cesar and Buffon are the two best goalkeepers in the world, Inter have a stronger and deeper defence, while Juventus possess a stronger and deeper midfield. Inter’s attack is more clinical, but Juve’s is more flexible. Jose Mourinho may be the more experienced coach, but Ferrara has started imperiously and, if first impressions are to go by, looks like the real deal both tactically and mentally.
The race to the line between the Nerazzurri and the Bianconeri promises to be neck-and-neck – Juventus will just be hoping that Massimiliano Saccani isn’t in charge of judging the photo finish.
What are your views on this topic? Will the Scudetto race go all the way to the final day? Who are favourites for the Scudetto? Goal.com wants to know what YOU think…
Carlo Garganese, Goal.com