The SuperCoppa in Italy pits last year's scudetto winners -- Juventus -- against last year's Coppa Italia winners -- Lazio -- in a match no one except the fans of either side really cares about. Sure, it's a chance to get a sneak preview of what might be expected from two calcio heavyweights, but for the most part, this match gave us little in the way of surprises. Sure, we may not have thought Juve would put in four and Miroslav Klose wouldn't even get one, but in terms of style and personnel, little new was revealed.
In the first half, Juventus supporters were likely most concerned with the fact that Claudio Marchisio went off injured in the 21st minute. The midfielder was involved in a rough collision with Stefan Radu and appeared to have hurt his knee. He tried to jog it off but was soon after replaced by Paul Pogba.
But fans of the Old Lady should worry little, considering just how good the young Pogba is. Just a couple minutes after entering the pitch (Opta said 35 seconds, but that seems unbelievable), Pogba scored the opening goal. Andrea Pirlo stepped up for a free kick but, rather surprisingly, chose to go out wide rather than try for goal. Stephan Lichtsteiner got on the end of the ball and sent it to the center, where it deflected off Radu. Pogba turned, collected the ball, turned again and put it in the back of the net.
Then the rest of the first half passed in a blurry haze of not-very-interesting football.
Fortunately -- for the black and white contingent, anyway -- Juventus decided that they were tired of being bored by their own match and turned up the heat. It took just seven minutes after the restart for Giorgio Chiellini to score Juve's second. It came off a quick counterattack after a Lazio corner. Arturo Vidal slipped the ball over to Lichtsteiner, who raced up the right to feed it on to Chiellini.
Two minutes later, Lichtsteiner had a goal of his own. A fancy little flick from Mirko Vucinic put the Swiss straight in front of goal, with only Federico Marchetti to beat. With over 30 minutes left to play, Juventus were up 3-0.
But that just wasn't enough for the reigning champions -- they had a message to spell out, and they needed to make sure no one missed their intentions. The bianconeri flooded the Lazio area, and, incredibly, Marchetti managed to save two sharp shots. But once the ball fell to Carlos Tevez, well ... well let's just say it looked as though the goalkeeper was struggling to keep back the tears once the fourth goal went in.
With fifteen minutes left to play, Lazio managed to find a good chance when Pirlo conceded possession. It was Klose with the opportunity, but Lazio's top man could only force Gigi Buffon into a save. Soon after, Juve cheaply gave away the ball again, and this time it was Ederson with the chance, although again Buffon was there to make the easy stop.
So we can use this match to say Juventus will dominate Serie A and make a splash in the Champions League. Or we can use it to show the Old Lady still have their flaws, and will grow lazy when they have an advantage. Or we can just be reasonable and say that this was still a preseason game and really, let's just see what the season brings.
Now bring on the 2013-2014 season! Please.
Juventus Starting XI: Gianluigi Buffon, Andrea Barzagli (Martín Cáceres 76), Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini, Stephan Lichtsteiner (Angelo Ogbonna 83), Arturo Vidal, Andrea Pirlo, Claudio Marchisio (Paul Pogba 21), Kwadwo Asamoah, Carlos Tevez, Mirko Vucinic
Lazio Starting XI: Federico Marchetti, Luis Cavanda, Andre Dias, Giuseppe Biava, Stefan Radu (Ederson 58), Antonio Candreva, Lucas Biglia, Cristian Ledesma (Sergio Floccari 58), Hernanes (Ogenyi Onazi 70), Senad Lulic, Miroslav Klose