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A great night for all in black and white

Courtesy ot the website: - 9th September, 2011

An incredible evening for all associated with Juventus Football Club. From President Agnelli, to the 50 Bianconeri legends and of course, Juve’s adoring public. 41,000 packed out a capacity stadium to herald the dawn of a new era. An era that promises victory, with a new home and manager certain to provide the catalyst for a bright future.  

It also proved to be a memorable occasion for visitors Notts County, the club who enjoy a historic link with the Bianconeri. The 1-1 result saw Luca Toni score the first goal in the new stadium, followed by a Lee Hughes last-gasp equaliser to give both sides a share of the spoils.

With the entire stadium energised following a spectacular pre-match show, the Bianconeri got off to a solid start, galvanised by new signing Elia. He began Juve’s charge by darting down the left-hand side before seeing his cross diverted behind for a corner.

Minutes later a long through ball saw Matri shrug off the attentions of Pearce, firing a low left-footed shot across goal which Burch managed to stop. With just over ten minutes on the clock, Elia’s dazzling run fed De Ceglie whose cross was narrowly headed over by Pepe.

Matri again found himself through on goal in the 20th minute, latching onto a low pass from deep but Burch was quick off his line to temporarily avert the danger. The ball then fell to Elia who twisted, turned but failed to direct his attempt on target.

The moment the Juventus faithful had been waiting for almost arrived in the 27th minute. Del Piero capitalised on a deflection and advanced on goal but lashed his shot over the bar. Shortly afterwards, Elia again beat his man with a fine piece of skill and centred for Pepe, with the winger’s effort sailing high and wide.

The visitors rarely looked like upsetting the odds during the first-half, restricted to a single Demontagnac free-kick from distance which sailed comfortably into the arms of Buffon.

Conte freshened things up after the break, introducing Storari, Sorensen, Marrone, Estigarribia, Toni and Quagliarella in place of Buffon, De Ceglie, Vidal, Pepe, Matri and Del Piero. The injection of fresh legs seemed to do the trick as the Bianconeri threatened directly from the restart. The Paraguayan winger looked lively on the left, whipping in a dangerous free-kick which Bonucci headed narrowly over.

With Juventus beginning to increase the pressure, they were presented with an ideal chance to gain the lead in the 53rd minute. Ravenhill handled in the area and Quagliarella took the responsibility from the spot. The striker saw his penalty attempt well saved by Burch, but Toni was on hand to sweep in the rebound and score the first goal in the new stadium.

Despite Juve’s dominance it was the Magpies who almost snatched an equaliser, Hollis rising to meet a corner which was pushed away to safety by Storari.

Conte took the opportunity to blood several Primavera youngsters in the second period, bringing on Ruggerio and Liviero, who were lent a hand by seasoned Italian internationals Chiellini and Pirlo, also given a taste of the action.

In the dying moments of the game, Notts County’s persistence paid off with an equaliser four minutes from time. Lee Hughes was first to react, sweeping the ball past substitute Manninger following a scramble in the penalty area. The Juventus faithful applauded the striker’s late strike, even paying tribute to his unique goal celebration.

And so the final whistle brought down the curtain on a magnificent event. Memorable for Notts County, whose staff, players and an estimated 350-strong following from Nottingham will never forget their trip to Italy. But even more so for Juventus, who now have a home to call their own, brought to life in spectacular fashion. Parma travel to Turin on Sunday for the ground’s first official match, with the Bianconeri hoping to make the moment even sweeter by beginning their campaign with three precious points…


GOALS: Toni 53, Hughes 87

Buffon (Storari 45, Manninger 75), Motta (Chiellini 72), Bonucci (Lichtsteiner 80), Barzagli (Liviero 58), De Ceglie (Sorensen 45), Pazienza (Pirlo 72), Vidal (Marrone 45), Pepe (Estigarribia 45), Matri (Quagliarella 45), Del Piero (Toni 45), Elia (Ruggiero 61).

Substitutes not used: Grosso, Marchisio, Vucinic, Giaccherini, Krasic, Gabriel Appelt, Carfora, Chibsah, Corticchia, Di Dio, Emmanuello, Carlos Garcia Lanini, Libertazzi, Rubin, Ruggiero, Schiavone, Spinazzola, Untersee.

Manager: Antonio Conte

Burch (Stuart 56), Kelly (Sheehan 45), Edwards (Judge 45), Pearce (Hollis 69), Demontagnac (Jeff Hughes 60), Hawley (Burgess 60), Bishop (Chilvers 45), Stirling, Ravenhill (Lee Hughes 60), Allen (Thompson 60, Bencherif 75), Mahon (Nicholas 45).

Manager: Martin Allen

Referee: De Marco from Chiavari
Assistants: Comito, Vuoto
Fourth official: Gallione

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