Classic Match: Torino vs. Juventus 2001/02

In the week leading up to match day 24 of the 2001-02 Serie A season, all the talk was of the Derby di Torino. Quite rightly so, as back in October 2001 Juventus and Torino put on a thrilling show, playing out an incredible 3-3 draw after Giancarlo Camolese’s Torino fought back from three goals down to secure a point.

Going into to the second clash between these two old rivals in February 2002, Marcelo Lippi’s Juventus were on course to secure the Scudetto and were on a remarkable 12 game unbeaten run. As for their city rivals and hosts, Torino were having a solid season themselves, having picked up notable wins over AC Milan and Lazio as they sat comfortably in mid-table.With fireworks greeting both sets of players onto the pitch, it didn’t take long before sparks were flying on it. Juve were on top early on, Edgar Davids got the better of Simone Vergassola down Torino’s right side and hung up a left footed cross which found David Trezeguet free at the back post. The French predator leapt, powering his header past the diving Luca Bucci to put Lippi’s men a goal up inside 10 minutes.

The goal seemed to awaken I Granata as moments later, Antonino Asta’a long range effort had Buffon working in the Juve goal. Despite the early entertainment, however, both sides played out a fairly uneventful first half.  When referee Gianluca Paparesta got the second half underway, we finally saw what the hype surrounding this derby was all about.

Torino flew out the traps and the shaven headed Buffon had to be at his best early on as Luca Mezzano let fly from all of 30 yards.  But the Bianconeri stopper was alert as he pushed the ball wide to safety. Lippi, puffed away on his cigar looking more and more concerned as his opponents threatened once more. And concerned he should have been. After a deep free kick was sent into the Juventus penalty area, Lilian Thuram made an uncharacteristic hash of heading it clear. The ball looped over the desperate Gianluca Pessotto and fell to Marco Ferrante at the back post, and with just Buffon to beat, Ferrante calmly smashed his volley past the giant Juventus keeper’.

As the raucous home crowd erupted, the Old Lady were as shaken as the walls of the Delle Alpi. Juventus couldn’t get a break as Torino continued to pour forward. It took until the 80th minute though for the hosts to finally take a deserved lead. Toro talisman Cristiano Lucarelli found himself on the end of a through ball and with the angle tight, he played an inviting ball across the face off Buffon’s goal. The pass found Benoit Cauet at the back post and the substitutes left footed strike got the better of Buffon despite the keeper’s best efforts. The Torino faithful were in ecstasy, leading their bitter rivals 2-1.

The final 10 minutes was always going to be a case of backs to the wall for Torino, as they tried in vain to get over the finish line. Now, it was Juve’s turn to pour forward. First, Ciro Ferrara crashed a header against the crossbar from a Pavel Nedved free kick and as the ball fell to Enzo Maresca, the midfielder forced Bucci into a smart save down to his right, keeping the score at 2-1.

Toro’s stopper was called into action again to deny Trezeguet and Nedved, but with the pressure mounting, it would have taken a mammoth effort for Torino to secure all three points. Eventually, Juventus struck as the clock hit 90 minutes. Lilian Thuram swung in a desperate cross which Maresca met and, using all his neck muscles, powered his header past the flying Bucci from all of 18 yards. This great headed goal had secured a point for Marcelo Lippi’s side and this enthralling Derby della Mole finished 2-2.

The sides meet for the first Derby di Torino of the season on Sunday. Juventus appear to be back to winning ways after their shock 3-1 defeat to Genoa in week 14. As for Sundays hosts, Torino, they’ll be looking to bounce back from last weekend’s surprise 2-0 defeat at the hands of Sampdoria, as they look to push on for a Champions League spot.

Words by Giovanni Dougall: @giovannid86