It certainly wasn’t an easy three World Football Challenge matches for Juventus. But then again, that’s how preseason tournaments are meant to be.
The Italian giants, whom manager Antonio Conte likened to a house under construction, ended their WFC participation with a 1-0 win over Mexican side CD Guadalajara 1-0 on Thursday. The Bianconeri showed improvement during their three-game North American tour, which also included a 2-1 loss to Sporting CP ad a 1-0 win against Club América.
“This tournament has helped us find a better physical condition and to try new strategies,” said Juventus forward Fabio Quagliarella. “These games are always a step forward and we could find the level that we wanted. The balance is very positive. Our objective was to play good games.”
In what turned out to be a very even match against Chivas – who came into the game with a seven-game preseason and a win in their one regular season game – the lone goal of the night came in the 12th minute, when Quagliarella took advantage a slip by defender Johnny Magallón to recover the ball and slip past goalie Luis Ernesto Míchel and inside the far post.
Although the goal may have come as the result of a mistake, the play that led to it – a long ball from the midfield out to the right side – was a tactic that the Bianconeri tried again and that nearly paid dividends a second time had it not been for a great save from Míchel.
But Guadalajara matched Juventus’ efforts, putting the Italian club in trouble a couple of times, including in the 80th minute, when Jorge Mora’s driven free kick hit the upright and bounced out of play.
“It was a very competitive team,” Juventus icon Alessandro Del Piero. “It was a very good game for both teams. We played against a very strong team and it was a game where we showed what we can deliver.”
La Vecchia Signora amassed a 2-1-0 record in their three World Football Challenge games and will now head back Italy, where they will continue their summer preparations.
“Coming to the US is risky because some teams are advanced in preparation,” said Conte about the opposition they faced throughout their tour. “But there is solid competition, such as Chivas and Club América. Playing prestigious teams is an advantage and helps us prepare for the season ahead.”