Birighitti features as A-League All Stars defeated by Juventus


Newcastle Jets goalkeeper Mark Birighitti came on in the 71st minute for the Foxtel A-League All Stars as they were defeated 3-2 by Juventus at ANZ Stadium on Sunday night.

Birighitti replaced Adelaide shot-stopper Eugene Galekovic with just under 20 minutes remaining and took the field against the Italian Serie A team which he supported throughout his childhood.

Juventus scored twice in the dying minutes to snatch a 3-2 win over a superb Foxtel A-League All Stars side in an entertaining clash.

Adelaide United ’s Marcelo Carrusca opened the scoring inside the first ten minutes before a second half equaliser from Fernando Llorente.

Wanderers striker Tomi Juric with a thumping drive inside the final 15 minutes gave the local side a sniff of a famous win.

But two late goals to Paul Pogba then Pepe sealed the win for the Italian champions.

In a keenly contested clash in front of 55,364 fans at ANZ Stadium, Juventus were given a very tough workout ahead of their Serie A defence in 20 days’ time away to Chievo Verona.

Utilising a 4-3-3 formation with star of the night Alessandro Del Piero positioned as a left sided striker alongside central striker Besart Berisha and Bernie Ibini on the right, the All Stars began superbly carving out a host of good chances in an impressive opening quarter of an hour.

After just six minutes Del Piero had a chance with a free kick on the edge of the box. A sensational start didn’t materialise with the wall doing its job.

But Gigi Buffon was soon picking the ball out of the net when Thomas Broich deftly released Marcelo Carrusca who ghosted into the box, side-stepped one defender and slotted home low past the Juventus captain’s diving hand.

It should’ve been 2-0 shortly after when Manny Muscat stole possession inside the All Stars’ defensive third. 

He sprinted forward from right back and the counter-attack ended with the excellent Berisha finding Del Piero who with the goal on sight got under the ball and fired it over the bar.

Buffon then denied a brilliant effort from Berisha who profited from a defensive lapse on the Juve left. The Victory striker’s turn and shot was goal-bound but Buffon expertly pushed it away for a corner.

Juventus striker Carlos Tevez was the most likely outlet in the first half. First, his low shot beat Eugence Galekovic but hit the wrong side of the post. And minutes later the Argentine’s long-range effort was on target but couldn’t trouble the Reds keeper.

At half-time the All Stars took a deserved one-nil into the dressing rooms.

With no changes at half-time, the second half began in similar fashion. Early chances to the Hyundai A-League’s best should’ve extended the lead with Broich’s shot deflected wide the best of the early onslaught.

At the other end, a trademark Pirlo free kick almost caught out Galekovic before Tevez wriggled past Rose and his teasing cross found the head of Claudio Marchisio at the far post, but he somehow directed the ball across the goal.

The pressure was building and just before the hour mark Evra’s pin-point cross found Spanish striker Fernando Llorente who found a yard of space to easily guide home a header from in front of goal. 

A host of changes were made shortly after with Del Piero one to make way. The star of the night came off to a standing ovation and hugs from teammates and opposition players.

With 20 minutes to go Juventus went to their bench and minutes later Gombau brought on three more subs.

One of the substitutes was Tomi Juric who made a sensational impact.

Asamoah’s mistake was pounced on by Gui Finkler who set up the Wanderers striker to smash the ball past substitute keeper Marco Storari.

But with a win in sight for the home side, sub Michael Thwaite’s poor clearance fell to the excellent Paul Pogba who smashed home a late equaliser.

Pepe’s long-range effort almost won it for Juve in time added on. But he was to have the final say. 

From the resulting corner the All Stars failed to clear  and Pepe’s thumping shot burst the net to win the game. 

The Italian powerhouse proved why they are champions of Italy with a 3-2 victory against a plucky Foxtel A-League All Stars side.  

Foxtel A-League All Stars 2  (Carrusca 9′, Juric 76′)

Juventus 3  (Llorente 58′, Pogba 87′, Pepe 90+3′)