Serie A - Juve go top after win at Siena

Sun, 18 Sep 16:00:00 2011

Juventus returned to the top of Serie A after battling to a 1-0 win at Siena.

FOOTBALL - 2011/2012 - Sienne-Juventus - Matri - 0

Alessandro Matri scored the decisive goal nine minutes into the second half after a skilled assist from strike partner Mirko Vucinic, picked at the expense of Alessandro Del Piero.

Though the home side were competitive and disciplined up until the goal, Juve were able to coast to their second consecutive win after breaking the deadlock in a game devoid of excitement.

The Robur are left waiting for their first win since returning to Serie A.

The contest was a far cry from the one-sided slaughter the previous weekend, when Juve christened their new stadium with a 4-1 hammering of Parma.

Disciplined defensive shape and keen attacking on the counter allowed Siena to keep up with their opponents move for move, though Andrea Pirlo almost broke their resolve with the first real chance of the game on 19 minutes.

Collecting a poor clearance on the edge of the penalty area, he faked his way past a collection of black-and-white-striped Siena shirts before his effort across goal was the wrong side of the post.

Daniele Mannini was Siena’s best chance of taking a shock lead, testing Gianluigi Buffon with a curling drive on 22 minutes before gracefully firing over the bar from the left-hand side of the box nine minutes later.

Franco Brienza’s exquisite diagonal through pass was on the verge of playing Emanuele Calaio clean through eight minutes before the break, only for the striker’s first touch to let him down and allow Buffon to gobble it up.

Only a superb interception from Alessandro Gazzi prevented Vucinic, who had been quiet in his first start for his new club up until that point, from punishing Siena on the break 60 seconds later.

The home side looked as up to the task in the opening stages of the second half as they had for the entirety of the first – only to let themselves down on the break with less than 10 gone following the restart.

After dealing with an early cross from the left flank, Juve broke fast and hard and after a pinpoint loft pass upfield was taken down expertly by Emanuele Giaccherini, the midfielder set Vucinic free on the inside.

After beating his man and luring goalkeeper Zeljko Brkic off his line, the Montengro forward cut the ball back for Matri to finish and send the travelling fans into raptures.

The complexion of the match was changed from there: with the goal they had sought in the bag, Juve were able to exert far more control than previously against a home side happy to battle their way to a point.

There were chances to put the scoreline beyond reach, too, as Pirlo’s free-kick forced Brkic to tip over his own bar on 66 minutes, moments before Vitiello rattled the woodwork at the other end - however it would not have counted anyway thanks to an offside flag.

Arturo Vidal was guilty of being wasteful on more than one occasion, especially with a mis-hit shot after being fed through by sub Del Piero on one of many Juve counter attacks in the last 10 minutes.

But the one goal was enough in the end to ensure that, provided Napoli do not defeat Milan tonight by three goals or more, Antonio Conte’s men will remain at the summit of the Italian top flight for another week.

Liam Happe / Eurosport

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