Matri returns to down old club Cagliari
Juventus forward Alessandro Matri returned to haunt Cagliari with a brace in his new club's 3-1 Serie A victory at the Stadio Sant'Elia this evening.
On-loan Matri, who only six days ago scored two goals here in a Cagliari shirt, put Juve ahead after 20 minutes and restored their lead 15 minutes from time after Robert Acquafresca had equalised for the hosts early in the second half. Luca Toni then sealed the win for Juve with his 100th Serie A goal just seconds after Cagliari had a seemingly valid goal disallowed.
"It can be more difficult to play against Cagliari than against Inter," said Juventus coach Luigi Del Neri. "Who we're playing doesn't change anything for us. We have to show that we're a team that knows how to suffer, able to keep its feet on the ground and going forward week after week."
Cagliari coach Roberto Donadoni said it was strange seeing former charge Matri scoring against his team. "It makes an impression seeing Matri score not for the Cagliari shirt as he was doing until a few days ago, but for another shirt," he said. "For sure, this time Matri didn't make Cagliari happy."
Daniele Conti provided the first moment of danger in the eighth minute when his free-kick just missed Gianluigi Buffon's left-hand post. Matri could have scored a minute later, but he shot straight at Michael Agazzi with only the Cagliari goalkeeper to beat.
He did get the better of Agazzi in the 20th minute, though, putting Juve ahead with a shot from 16 yards, but refusing to celebrate in front of the fans who only a week ago were celebrating his goals against Bari.
Giorgio Chiellini thought he had made it two for Juve when he pounced on a fumble by Agazzi from Alberto Aquilani's free-kick to roll the ball into the empty net, but he was offside when the free-kick was struck. Cagliari levelled early in the second half when Andrea Cossu lifted the ball over the head of Leonardo Bonucci to the far post, where Acquafresca side-footed it past Buffon.
The Sardinians took heart from the equaliser and Conti almost put them in front in the 57th minute when he latched onto a delicately chipped free-kick from Cossu, but he volleyed the ball just wide.
At the other end, Matri went close to his second with a header in the 61st minute before restoring Juve's lead in the 75th minute. He volleyed Chiellini's cross past Agazzi and, again, did not celebrate. Cagliari thought they had levelled again in the 83rd minute when Nene headed the ball in from close range, but the referee saw a foul on Toni and ruled the goal out, much to the home side's anger.
And, to rub salt into their wounds, Toni headed in a third to seal the points for I Bianconeri when they should have been returning to the centre circle to kick off again having conceded an equaliser. Cagliari were unable to recover from the psychological blow as Juve claimed all three points.