Juventus Women will not look back fondly on Matchday 11 of the 2023/24 Women’s Serie A season as they were beaten away at Sampdoria, a side that were expected to be battling against relegation this season.
Whilst Samp are having a better season than anyone expected, Juventus simply can’t lose games like that and expect to win the title back from AS Roma this year. To make matters even worse for the Bianconere, it was their own loanee, Asia Bragonzi, who netted the only goal in the 1-0 win.
She may not have celebrated wildly when scoring against her parent club, but there will have been celebrations in Roma‘s camp as they waited to face Como, a game that they would win 3-2.
It leaves the gap between Roma and Juventus at six points, and it makes the latter a hard team to assess so far this season.
Sampdoria defeat changes the complexion of Juventus’ season
There is a strong feeling right now that Juventus are getting a taste of their own medicine. Having won five Women’s Serie A titles in a row, two of which were done without losing a single game, they created a situation where you had to be flawless to win the title.
Roma‘s 2022/23 title-winning season saw them lose three times, with Juventus losing four times. This season, it looks like Roma have what it takes to win all of their games, or at least remain unbeaten all the way. The Giallorosse beat Juventus 3-1 earlier this season which meant the gap was three points, so Juventus knew they needed to win every game and beat Roma in February to ensure they went into the Scudetto Pool on an equal footing.
Sampdoria are doing better than expected this season, but it really was not in the script for Juventus to lose 1-0. They missed a number of great chances, Lineth Beerensteyn in particular. They now find themselves six points behind Roma, who have won all 11 games.
When Juventus had only lost to Roma and won all of their other games, it was hard to level any real criticism at Joe Montemurro‘s side. That changes with this defeat against Sampdoria, as they simply had to keep winning games against those beneath them.
Montemurro was keen to stress after the game that there are no simple games in this division and they got the basics wrong.
“We made a lot of mistakes, individually and as a team. We couldn’t find the goal, which meant we couldn’t play with the right composure, and they hit us on the break,” he said.
“This match was a bit strange, and it confirms that nothing is taken for granted and there are no easy matches.”
Juventus’ glut of injuries, but lack of European football
It does have to be remembered that Juventus have been unlucky with injuries this season, in a way that Roma have not. Alessandro Spugna‘s side added depth in the summer and almost every new player has played an important role so far, as they look to juggle a title defence with a tough Women’s Champions League group.
Failing to reach the Champions League group stage meant Juventus didn’t need quite so big a squad, hence players like Asia Bragonzi going out on loan. They did that without knowing that so many key players would get injuries in the early part of the season.
Martina Rosucci has been out for the entire campaign so far, and in fact most of 2023. At varying points during the campaign, Montemurro has had to do without crucial players like Julia Grosso, Cristiana Girelli, Barbara Bonansea and now Paulina Nystrom.
It is perhaps for the best that they did not reach the Women’s Champions League group stage, as these injuries would have made it incredibly hard to avoid regular defeats at that level.
It is hard to criticise a team for not being top of the league when their rival has won every game and they have had injuries to battle with, but if they lose another game like the one against Sampdoria, the criticism will arrive.
Women’s Serie A 2023/24: Matchday 11 results
|Sat, Dec 16
|AC Milan 1-1 Napoli
|Sat, Dec 16
|Sampdoria 1-0 Juventus
|Sun, Dec 17
|Pomigliano 0-2 Sassuolo
|Sun, Dec 17
|Como W. 2-3 AS Roma
|Mon, Dec 18
|Fiorentina 4-2 Inter
Women’s Serie A table