Amidst a flurry of snowflakes in Turin that took the bounce out of even Andrea Pirlo's locks, Juventus pulled off a 2-1 win over Udinese, thanks to a brace by Alessandro Matri. The Juve forward opened the scoring just before the break, then sank another just minutes after Udinese substitute Antonio Floro Flores had grabbed an equalizer.
The first half produced plenty of chances at both ends, with the keepers drawing deserved acclamations for their work. Birthday boy Gigi Buffon managed to tip a Almen Abdi shot just over the bar, while also denying Pablo Armero. At the other end, Samir Handanovic made sure Marcelo Estigarribia start the game off with a bang for Juventus, and beautifully blocked a shot from Matri.
But Handanovic finally faltered, just before the halftime whistle. Fabio Quagliarella got his head on the end of a cross from Estigarribia, and although the Slovene was able to push away the ball, Matri was there to flick it on and into the back of the net.
After a halftime break that I imagine involved roaring fires and marshmallows floating in hot chocolate, you'd think it would've taken awhile for the players to come to life again. But the change of kits must've done the trick -- for Udinese, anyway. Andrea Barzagli's mind must've been wandering toward dreams of scarves and mittens, the only explanation for his giving away the ball. The friulani sprang forward, with Mauricio Isla sending in the pass for Floro Flores to knock past Buffon.
Determined to make sure Buffon had a nice birthday, Matri decided to go ahead and clean up the bit of a mess Juve had gotten themselves into. Claudio Marchisio, who'd just barely entered the match, sent the ball through to Matri. Eyelashes made Damiano Ferronetti look like a pimply adolescent at his first dance, easily turning round the Udinese defender and likely even giggling as he sent his shot past Handanovic.