By Graham Hunter in Turin
Ciro Ferrara, the oldest man on the pitch, gave a tremendous display of defending and then added the winning goal as Juventus FC defeated Galatasaray SK
2-1 in their opening UEFA Champions League Group D fixture at the Stadio Delle Alpi.
Juventus's lead came courtesy of their daring formation, effectively 4-2-2-2, which took Galatasaray fully 15 minutes to figure out. Coach Marcello Lippi stuck with his formidable back four but used only Alessio Tacchinardi and Stephen Appiah, the young Ghanaian making his Champions League debut, as the barrier in front of them.
With both Pavel Nedved and Mauro Camoranesi pushed forward, and wide, there was space for the two strikers, Alessandro Del Piero and David Trezeguet, to drop back and pick the ball up freely. Del Piero did precisely that in the fifth minute, turning quickly and curving a right-foot pass to Camoranesi. When the ball was returned into the path of Juve's all-time leading scorer in this competition, Del Piero instinctively struck it in the far-right corner of Faryd Mondragón's goal.
Superb sliding tackle
Juve were dominating in midfield and had numerous chances to add to their tally. Trezeguet's beautifully balanced left-foot volley required a full-stretch fingertip save from Mondragón in the 13th minute, before the same player was denied a clear shot five metres from an open goal by a superb sliding tackle from Bülent Korkmaz.
It was scintillating home play, but both Frank de Boer, a loser to Juventus in last season's quarter-final when the Dutch defender was still with FC Barcelona, and Bülent set about reorganising their midfield. The reward was less possession for Juventus as their passing options declined.
Galatasaray won the ultimate reward for their toil. From a 19th-minute corner which full-back César Prates swung away from Gianluigi Buffon, Hakan Sükür rose between Ferrara and Paolo Montero to head powerfully downwards over the line. Although Galatasaray hassled and harried Lippi's team from that point onwards, Juventus almost went ahead again when Del Piero's 34th-minute corner was headed past Móndragon by Trezeguet - but João Batista was at the far post and headed off the line.
Lippi opted for the dynamic, streetwise skills of Edgar Davids at half-time, the Dutchman replacing Tacchinardi. The midfield was further changed when Camoranesi was replaced by Igor Tudor, leaving Appiah to close down Hakan Ünsal and Ergün Penbe, who were working in tandem down the left flank. Moments later Hakan Ünsal felled Del Piero, whose trademark free-kick from over 20 metres thumped against the Galatasaray bar.
Drive for victory
Gradually the changes took effect as Nedved orchestrated Juve's drive for three points and Hakan Sükür, enjoying a fantastic physical battle with Ferrara, became an increasingly isolated figure. The tall striker, back at the ground where his career hit its first low point when he failed to settle with Torino Calcio, often threatened but, ironically, it was his marker Ferrara who turned the game.
Ferrara wins it
Again Galatasaray were punished for their over-physical approach and Del Piero's left-sided free-kick landed at the foot of the man from whom he took the captain's armband, Ferrara hooking the ball past Mondragón. Within a couple of minutes Del Piero himself dived to flick a fine Appiah cross less than a metre past the Galatasaray far post. Juve almost scored a third late on when Marco Di Vaio headed on goal only for Mondragón to salvage a save, and some pride, from the night.