SCOTT PETERSON - Monday, October 17, 2011
Michael Bradley and Chievo Verona snatched a point off Serie A leaders Juventus on Sunday at the Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi in Verona.
The match was between two stong teams in Serie A but it turned out to be a physical match failing to produce much in the way of scoring chances.
Chievo head coach Domenico di Carlo elected to employ a defensive strategy to combat Juventus' high-powered offense, which has struggled to score goals against compact defenses. To this end, Bradley's presence in the starting 11 was a must as the midfielder has never lacked the stamina to harass opponents with the ball.
The first half produced a solitary half-chance, and it surprisingly fell to Chievo. Sergio Pellissier's free kick from about 25 yards out was spilled by Italian keeper extraordinaire Gigi Buffon, but the burly Buffon was able to pounce before any real damage occurred.
The second half started like the first, with Chievo defending resolutely and Juventus lacking ideas in the attacking third.
In the 70th minute, Juventus finally had their first chance of the game, when midfielder Claudio Marchisio's curling left-footed shot from just outside the box came close but failed to hit the target.
Bradley got his first taste of Italian yellow, picking up a card for a mistimed tackle in the 71st minute.
The game's best chance came in the 73rd minute as substitute Alessandro del Piero latched on to Simone Pepe's cross but could only thump his header against the right post. As the match wore on Juventus pressed for a winner, but came up short as Verona continued to defend.
The hosts almost snatched a late winner in the 84th minute, but after Bradley dropped off for Pellissier, the Italian mishit his shot from about 2 yards out letting Juventus off the hook.
With the tie, Bradley and the Flying Donkeys are unbeaten in their last 4 matches and are in a three-way tie for 7th place with 9 points. Next week, Chievo are sure to have their hands full as they travel to Milan to face Inter.