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Juventus clinch Italian Super Cup

11 Aug 2012 18:47:10

Juventus clinch Italian Super Cup

Serie A champions Juventus scored twice in extra time to clinch the Italian Super Cup against a Napoli side who had two players sent off at Beijing's 'Bird's Nest' stadium on Saturday.

The team from Turin had to come from behind on two occasions and a bad-tempered period of the game saw Napoli reduced to nine men moments before the regulation 90 minutes finished at 2-2.

Juventus seized the win in extra time with Napoli full back Christian Maggio scoring an own goal and Montenegrin striker Mirko Vucinic putting the game beyond doubt.

Juventus had come into the game the day after the unsettling news that coach Antonio Conte has been banned for ten months following an inquiry into match-fixing.

But it was a sweet victory for the club's number two Massimo Carrera - who is taking charge during Conte's absence - particularly as Juventus' last competitive defeat was at the hands of Napoli in the Coppa Italia.

The Italian Super Cup, which is considered the traditional curtain raiser to the Italian season, is played between the Italian cup holders and the winners of Italy's top league.

But Juventus did not look like the team that had won all but the final game of last season during the opening half.

Napoli created the first real opportunity on 18 minutes, when Uruguayan striker Edinson Cavani headed across the penalty area to Marek Hamsik, but the Slovakian blasted wastefully over the bar.

Just before the half hour mark, however, Napoli broke the deadlock with a well-taken goal from Cavani.

The South American darted behind the Juventus backline and raced towards goal with only Gianluigi Buffon to beat.

His initial shot was well saved, but Cavani kept his composure, raced back to collect the ball, and then drove it past the Juventus captain as he was still getting back to his feet.

However, Juventus were soon level - much to the delight of the largely black-and-white crowd inside the former Olympic venue.

The ball was swept from the right hand side of the pitch by Arturo Vidal to Kwadwo Asamoah on the edge of the penalty area. The Ghanian international superbly volleyed the ball underneath Napoli keeper Morgan De Sanctis to make it 1-1.

It wasn't long before Napoli restored their lead, thanks to a clever chip by Macedonian Goran Pandev which looped over Buffon.

The second half saw the introduction of Vucinic, who came on for Allessandro Matri, and he soon made a difference.

The striker scraped the crossbar with a drifting shot after he was sent through on the left by Andrea Pirlo.

Juventus had a scare moments later when a Cavani shot bobbled tantalisingly across the face of goal before going wide.

Napoli could sense victory, and become more aggressive with their tackling as they tried to contain the Juventus advance.

But aggression became their undoing when Juventus drew level again -- this time through a penalty.

The referee had no hesitation pointing to the spot when Vucinic was pulled down in the box.

Vidal coolly slotted the spot-kick to De Sanctis' right to level the scores and set up a frenetic final fifteen minutes of normal time.

Pandev was the first player to be sent off after he appeared to insult a referee's assistant on 85 minutes.

Juan Camilo Zuniga was then dismissed following a clash with Sebastian Giovinco, which resulted in his second yellow card.

Juventus went ahead seven minutes into extra time when Maggio headed into his own net past a desperate De Sanctis.

Vucinic confirmed victory moments later with a neat finish, following some excellent work from Claudio Marchisio.


AFP

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