Benevento Stun Juventus at the Allianz Stadium with Gaich Lone Goal

The first day of Spring brought some unexpected winds of change in Serie A as Benevento overcame Juventus in Round 28 of the Italian top-flight. Filippo Inzaghi’s Benevento were winless since January 6 but chose the most prestigious stage to come back to winning ways, shocking the Allianz Stadium with a lone goal from Adolfo Gaich.

It was an authentic disaster for the Bianconeri, who not only failed their chance to get closer to top-ranked Inter, but also lost the third place in the table to Atalanta – though Juve still have their endlessly-postponed match with Napoli at hand.

The Bianconeri vainly protested as goalkeeper Lorenzo Montipò should have been sent off for touching the ball with his hands outside of the box but were not able to produce much during the 95 minutes of play. They ultimately paid the price for a macroscopic Arthur blunder that propitiated Gaich’s winner on 69 minutes.

The Brazilian central midfielder was at his first cap as a starter since two months – a decision that, in retrospect, Andrea Pirlo would regret. The Juventus coach setup his side in a 4-4-2 fashion, with Danilo deployed as right-back to replace disqualified Juan Cuadrado and Federico Bernardeschi marshaling the other flank. Federico Chiesa and Dejan Kulusevski were the two wing-backs, while the striking duo consisted of Cristiano Ronaldo and Alvaro Morata as usual.

Filippo Inzaghi didn’t change from his usual 4-3-2-1 “Christmas Tree” setup. German-Argentine Adolfo Gaich has by become his coach’s first choice as the offensive terminal, supported by Artur Ionita and Gianluca Lapadula.

Inzaghi’s setup was solid and organized and managed to keep Juventus at bay for the first 30 minutes, during which the Streghe were the ones to come closer to break the deadlock. Benevento took advantage of a Danilo mistaken pass to counter attack with Perparim Hetemaj, whose cross into the box was narrowly missed by both Lapadula and Ionita.

Juventus came out after the half hour mark and started to trouble Lorenzo Montipò who proved brilliantly equal to the tasks. The Giallorossi goalkeeper’s first exploit was denying an Alvaro Morata diagonal shot.  

The first half ended with some controversies as referee Rosario Abisso first pointed at the penalty spot as he saw defender Daam Foulon hitting the ball with his hand into Benevento’s box. The VAR, however, corrected his decision.

Then, after a Cristiano Ronaldo goal ruled off for offside, Juventus protested as Lorenzo Montipò blocked a Federico Chiesa incursion but ended up touching the ball with his hands outside of the box. The Bianconeri demanded for the goalie to be sent off, but referee Abisso only awarded a free kick.

After the break, Juventus became more aggressive but the major threat to Montipò’s goal was a Federico Barba clearance that risked ending into his own goal. Benevento’s shot-stopper had to resort to his reflexes to defuse the threat.

Despite the Old Lady’s pressure, however, the match was balanced and the only way to alter its course seemed to be a single episode. Which is exactly what happened on 69 minutes, as Arthur looked for Danilo with a suicidal pass that was easily intercepted by Adolfo Gaich. Benevento’s striker made no mistake to put his side ahead. 

The last minutes turned into a Juventus siege to the Giallorossi‘s goal. There were additional protests on the Bianconeri‘s part as Foulon collapsed into the box and Chiesa stumbled into him. Juventus claimed a penalty but referee waved play on. Cristiano Ronaldo took command of the offensive operations but Lorenzo Montipò was insurmountable and preserved his side’s lead.

Benevento took a breath of fresh air which turned out to be even more important as all their direct contenders for safety lost their games this weekend. For Juventus, on the other hand, this is probably the certification that they are ready to abdicate the Italian throne after nine years of domination.



March 21, 2021 – Serie A 2020-2021 Round 28

SCORERS: 69′ Gaich

JUVENTUS (4-4-2):Szczesny; Danilo, de Ligt, Bonucci, Bernardeschi; Chiesa, Arthur (72′ Bentancur), Rabiot (72′ McKennie), Kulusevski; Morata, Cristiano Ronaldo (Pinsoglio, Buffon, Chiellini, Di Pardo, Dragusin, Frabotta, Fagioli) Coach: Pirlo
BENEVENTO (4-3-2-1): Montipò; Tuia, Barba, Caldirola; Improta, Hetemaj (82′ Dabo), Viola, Ionita, Foulon (72′ Tello); Lapadula (72′ Caprari), Gaich (82′ Di Serio) (Manfredini, Lucatelli, Insigne, Moncini, Sau, Pastina) Coach: F. Inzaghi

REFEREE: Mr. Abisso from Palermo
NOTES: Yellow Cards: Bernardeschi, Bentancur, Pirlo (J), Tuia, Barba, Tello (B)