Italian Champions Juventus secured a hard-fought 1-0 victory over the Newcastle Jets in a behind-closed-doors friendly match at Jubilee Oval in Kogarah on Wednesday night.
Massimiliano Allegri's men were only scheduled to play the one game whilst in Australia but arranged a hit-out with the Jets to rotate their squad ahead of the Singapore leg of their pre-season tour.
Juventus were without a host of key players who featured in their 3-2 win over the Foxtel A-League All Stars at ANZ Stadium on Sunday night.
Gianluigi Buffon, Andrea Pirlo, Carlos Tevez, Paul Pogba and Patrice Evra were among the big names missing for the reigning Serie A Champions for the friendly match played in two 35-minute halves.
Despite their absence, Juventus dominated possession in the early stages of the contest, earning a trio of corner-kicks inside the opening 10 minutes which left the Jets scrambling to clear their lines.
Juventus had the first clear-cut opportunity of the match in the 11th minute with Kingsley Coman forcing Ben Kennedy to make a sharp reflex save at his near post.
After a nervous start, the Jets settled into the contest and made their first foray forward in the 14th minute with Josh Barresi setting Craig Goodwin free down the right flank.
However, Goodwin over-hit his cross towards James Virigili in the penalty area and the attacking opportunity was lost.
Barresi had to be substituted after sustaining a knee injury in the 17th minute of the contest. The attacking midfielder will have scans in the coming days to determine the extent of the injury.
Juventus opened the scoring in the 26th minute after Sebastian Giovinco received the ball on the edge of the area, before beating Adrian Madaschi and calmly slotting the ball past Ben Kennedy to make it 1-0.
Giovinco almost made it 2-0 three minutes later, after a cross from the left flank found him unmarked in the penalty area, but the Italian international miscued his attempted volley with only Kennedy to beat.
The Jets were awarded a free-kick in the 31st minute, with David Carney opting to go directly for goal from 30 metres out, only to blaze his effort over the crossbar.
Newcastle almost equalised on the stroke of half-time with Mitchell Oxborrow connecting powerfully with a stinging half-volley from 25 metres out that looked destined to rocket into the top corner, only for Juventus goalkeeper Marco Storari to pull off a stunning diving save.
The Jets appeared to have levelled the scores moments after the half-time restart, with Carney launching a shot from halfway directly from the kick-off that cleared the head of Storari’s replacement Rubinho and nestled in the back of the net.
However, Rubinho and the Juventus player protested that they hadn’t been ready for the resumption of play and the Jets were ordered to retake the kick-off.
Juventus looked to double their advantage in the 43rd minute, with Simone Pepe forcing Mark Birighitti to get down low at his near post and make a strong save.
Juventus continued to control much of the play as the second half wore on, but the Jets remain structured and disciplined in defence, allowing very few openings for the Italians.
Jonny Steel fashioned another goal scoring opportunity for the Jets in the 58th minute, with a clever chip to the back post that was met by Jets youth team player Michael Finlayson.
His header was saved by Rubinho, but the linesman’s offside flag had gone up in any case.
The sting was taken out of the match in the final moments as both teams made substitutions, but the Jets could hold their heads high after acquitting themselves in impressive fashion against the Italian Champions.
Juventus 1 (Giovinco 26’)
Newcastle Jets 0
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