|What a Huge Missed Chance!|
Juventus have maintained their grip on first place after a goalless draw against Siena. The Bianconeri spent the majority of the game camped deep inside their opponents’ territory but ultimately failed to find the winner their persistence merited. Lichtsteiner went closest in the first-half, connecting with Pirlo’s pinpoint pass and hooking the ball narrowly over, while the midfield general was unlucky to see his swerving free-kick pushed over the crossbar after the interval.
The Bianconeri began with their usual purposeful play, throwing bodies forward and looking to break the deadlock inside the opening period. But their visitors refused to allow them time and space on the ball. Despite hovering narrowly above the relegation zone after losing their last five successive away encounters, Siena boast the sixth best defensive record in Serie A, and sat deep in their efforts to protect goalkeeper Pegolo. It took over a quarter of an hour for the game to spring into action. Vidal picked up the ball in the middle of the park and lashed a fierce effort from distance.
The Chilean’s strike swerved in front of Pegolo, but the goalkeeper watched it all the way and parried the ball clear. Seconds later, it was Siena’s turn to try their luck on goal. Destro, who has found the target on five occasions so far this season, turned Chiellini but dragged a weak left-footed shot wide of the post. As the game progressed, De Ceglie began to come into his own down the left flank. The full-back was encouraged to break forward at every available opportunity and played several inviting crosses into the box.
Matri almost connected with two of these on the half-hour mark, but the Siena rearguard managed to clear the danger. The Bianconeri’s finest occasion to open the scoring in the first half fell to the feet of Lichtsteiner, who came close to recreating his strikes against Parma and Atalanta. Again it was Pirlo who provided both the vision and the pinpoint pass, but this time Lichtsteiner was unable to steer his left-footed volley on target. Clearly boosted by Conte’s words at half-time, Juventus set out with renewed energy and instantly fashioned a host of decent goalscoring opportunities. Within five minutes of the restart, Lichtsteiner capitalised on Del Grosso’s hesitancy to clip the ball towards Vucinic.
The Montenegrin directed his header on goal but it lacked the required power to test Pegolo. The visiting goalkeeper, however, was soon called into action minutes later. Chiellini rose highest from a corner and saw his header thwarted by the former Verona stopper. Undeterred, the Bianconeri kept knocking on the door. Pirlo’s curling free-kick was arrowing towards the top corner before Pegolo clawed it clear. And his reflexes were again put to the test when he touched Matri’s header over the bar. After introducing Giaccherini towards the end of the first half at the expense of Pepe, Conte made further changes after the break. Borriello replaced Vucinic, while Matri made way for Quagliarella.
Yet as Juventus swarmed forward, they had to be alert when Siena threatened to snatch the points right at the death. Gonzalez scampered one-on-one towards goal but lacked composure and killer instinct at the vital moment. And with three minutes remaining, Conte’s men had another fortunate escape. Reginaldo hit a curling strike from just outside the area which Buffon fumbled, and the stadium breathed a collective sigh of relief as Gazzi sent his follow up wide of goal. Giaccherini could have grabbed a winner deep into stoppage time but Peruzzo’s whistle saw both sides settle for a point apiece. Juventus hold onto their lead at the top of Serie A after Milan drew a blank with Napoli.
JUVENTUS Buffon; Lichtsteiner, Barzagli, Chiellini, De Ceglie; Vidal, Pirlo, Marchisio; Pepe (Giaccherini 38), Matri (Quagliarella 76), Vucinic (Borriello 61) Substitutes not used: Storari, Bonucci, Marrone, Del Piero. Manager: Conte
SIENA Pegolo ; Vitiello, Rossettini, Terzi, Del Grosso; Giorgi (Reginaldo 69), Vergassola, Gazzi, Brienza; Destro (Parravicini 73), Calaiò (Gonzales 56) Substitutes not used: Farelli, Rossi, Contini, D’Agostino. Manager: Sannino
REFEREE: Peruzzo ASSISTANTS: Petrella, De Luca FOURTH OFFICIAL: Guida BOOKINGS: Pegolo 72, Barzagli 74, Borriello 83, Chiellini 92, Parravicini 94