Alessandro Matri’s well-taken goal was overshadowed by ugly scenes as Juventus beat Atalanta 1-0 in their Serie A match at the the Stadio Atleti Azzurri d'Italia.
Matri latched onto Andrea Pirlo’s pinpoint pass and expertly finished from just inside the penalty area after only 18 minutes.
The Serie A champions controlled much of the match and were unlucky not to edge further ahead with Fabio Quagliarella having a number of decent chances.
The match, which wasn’t overly entertaining, will be remembered, though, as trouble in the crowd forced the referee to put a stop to the game.
Opposing fans clashed and flares were thrown onto the pitch which put a halt to proceedings for a lengthy period.
When play did resume, the visitors continued in the same vein and were able to see out the match with confidence and conviction.
Scudetto champions Juventus started strongly and asserted their dominance on 14th-placed Atalanta from the off.
Fabio Quagliarella was the first to test the home side’s goalkeeper as he latched onto Pirlo’s pass. The striker cut inside of Michele Canini from the edge of the penalty area but could only find the hands of Andrea Consigli with a rather weak shot.
Atalanta struggled to find their feet in the opening exchanges and went behind on 18 minutes courtesy of another quite brilliant Pirlo ball.
The veteran midfielder showed his eye for a pass when clipping the ball over the top of the Nerazzurri defence, finding the feet of Matri who had pulled away from the covering defender.
The Juve front man brought the ball down expertly with one touch and then, with the other, simply dispatched the ball past the outstretched Consigli and into the far corner.
The goal seemed to spur the hosts on as they grew into the match, and were rewarded with a few decent chances.
German Denis headed narrowly wide of Marco Storari’s goal from Luca Cigarini’s cross before Davide Biondini wriggled free of two challenges and then sending a rasping drive inches past the post.
The game was then halted by the referee as fans inside the Stadio Atleti Azzurri d'Italia came together. Flares could be seen on the pitch and in the stands which was enough for the official to put a stop to proceedings for a number of minutes.
Managers and players alike approached the unruly fans to plead with them to stop the madness and, after some time, they got their wish as the game resumed.
The visitors didn’t seem too fazed by the stop in play and began to knock the ball around confidently, searching for the equaliser.
Carlos Carmona carved out a chance with some excellent footwork on the edge of the penalty area before seeing his well-struck effort fizz narrowly wide.
Denis then struck the post after Martin Caceres’s weak clearance was intercepted, allowing Biondini to pick out the Nerazzurri front man. Unmarked at the back post, the Argentine opted to sidefoot his effort on goal, beating the keeper but not the post.
Cigarini was next to go close for the hosts after just eight minutes of the second half. With the help of Cristiano Del Grosso’s overlapping run, the midfielder was able to cut inside and send a ball towards the far post in search of Denis. The striker failed to make contact with the ball as it bounced in the penalty area and whistled just inches past Storari’s far post.
With the end of the game nearing, Atalanta threw men forward and were caught on the counter attack a number of times without being punished.
Matri, in truth, should have put the game to bed with just minutes remaining on the clock as substitute Arturo Vidal tore down the right and made his way into the penalty area.
The Chilean cut the ball back from the byline into the path of Matri who was unable to make any contact with the ball as it rolled out harmlessly for a throw in.
Despite their inability to finish off the hosts, Juventus were able to see out the game, proving just why they were crowned Italian champions.
- Sports & Recreation
- Alessandro Matri
- Fabio Quagliarella
- Andrea Pirlo