Good display on the left tonight...
The Hoops were undone by rising star De Oliveira Amauri as a brace of goals saw the Old Lady of Italian football triumph in a wonderful occasion in Tallaght Stadium tonight. The Italians took this game seriously and hit the front after only 3 minutes.
Amauri was on the end of a fine passing movement to slip the ball over the advancing Alan Mannus and despite Aiden Price’s best efforts the visitors snatched an early lead.
Rovers made a nervous start and Juve had a lot of possession in the opening 20 minutes with Pepe hugging the right-hand touchline and Sissoko commanding the midfield.
On 14 minutes Diego sent a free-kick to the back post and Lanzafame saw his header go just wide. Alan Mannus made a fine catch from a 22nd minute corner and Stewart was on hand to block Motta’s cross two minutes later.
The Hoops finally got into the game and a good run by Stewart into the box on 26 minutes saw a defender clear his cross. Rovers were passing the ball better now and another Stewart cross was headed clear by Motta.
At the other end Lanzafame saw his shot deflected into the side-netting and Mannus again claimed the corner impressively. On 33 minutes Pepe headed just wide and a minute later Twigg and Stewart combined but the cross was too near the ‘keeper.
Enda Stevens ran at the Juve defence on 38 minutes and although he was brought down the advantage never accrued to Rovers as the Linesman flagged for an offside. The dangerous Diego ran into the Hoops area on 41 minutes and Pepe’s effort was blocked.
Rovers best chance of the half came from a Chambers corner saw Aiden Price connect with the ball but his effort was blocked in front of goal.
The Hoops upped the tempo at the start of the second-half and Bayly’s high ball into the area was claimed by ‘keeper Storari under pressure from Stewart. Chambers and Twigg then combined for Bayly to float a dangerous cross that was headed clear.
Rover’s good start to the second-half was almost rewarded when a Chambers free-kick on the right was headed on to Stewart and he crossed for Captain Murray to head towards goal but unfortunately just wide of the target.
Turner then fed Sives but his cross was too deep and in the 56th minute the Hoops number 18 turned well but his shot went over Storari’s goal. Although the Hoops were marginally on top now they were reminded of the class of the Italians when Amauri turned Murray and raced into the box to slip the ball past Mannus but thankfully the ball hit the inside of the post and the Hoops ‘keeper dived on the rebound.
On 66 minutes some great play from Stewart saw his cross cleared but Bayly returned the ball into the box and ‘keeper Storari claimed the ball under pressure from Sives.
A great cross by Diego saw a fabulous defensive header from Murray under pressure from Amauri after 70 minutes. The resultant corner was headed away by Mannus.
On 73 minutes the impressive Amauri took the ball from Murray and raced into the area to cross for Marchisio but his first touch was too strong and the ball went wide. The Juve number 11 struck for his second on 75 minutes when he headed into the corner of the net from Pepe’s cross.
The Hoops never gave up and a minute later substitute Dennehy got past his marker to cross but Twigg couldn’t get to the ball and Bayly’s shot from the edge of the area went over the bar.
Alessandro Del Piero made his entrance to the game to generous applause on 81 minutes and he almost got on the score-sheet when Pepe found him on the edge of the area but his shot was just wide of Mannus’s left-hand post.
The Hoops kept the pressure up until the final whistle with Paddy Kavanagh crossing for Motta to head clear before Stewart made room for himself but his final shot was weak.
A Sives throw-in on 88 minutes saw Twigg turn to shoot but his effort was blocked before Kavanagh’s cross was met by Bayly’s volley but again a Juve defender got across to clear.
The final whistle saw the Hoops faithful applaud the battling performance of the team against one of the giants of European football. The focus now shifts to the real business of the league and Sunday’s game against Sporting Fingal.
(picture: George Kelly)