Sunday, May 25, 2008

Ranieri upbeat despite loss

Juventus coach Claudio Ranieri declared himself satisfied with his team's performance despite seeing their post-season tour begin on a losing note with a 2-1 defeat to South China in Hong Kong.

Ranieri was without a host of international stars who are preparing for Euro 2008 and nursing injuries after a third-placed finish in Serie A this season.

And South China were up to the challenge, with Brazilian targetman Detinho causing the Bianconeri defence a host of problems.

"I think it was a good performance," said Ranieri. "Of course it was very difficult after the long journey, and jet lag, and very high humidity. It was a good match for both teams.

"We tried until the end of the match to draw, but well done to South China.

"They were a good team and played very well, similar to English football, a long ball to the big forward and then on to the second ball.

"It was a good performance from them."

Detinho held the ball up well inside the area and teed-up Manoel Santos to score midway through the first half.

Santos returned the favour moments before the interval.

The forward found space down the right before pulling the ball back for Detinho, who turned and arrowed a low shot into the bottom corner from the edge of the area.

Detinho nearly doubled his tally early in the second period, forcing goalkeeper Jess Vanstratten to turn a diving header round the post.

Maxwell then spurned a one-on-one opportunity before Juventus missed a host of half chances.

David Trezeguet, Raffaele Palladino, Tiago and Cristian Pasquato were all culpable before defender Jonathan Zebina headed in from a corner two minutes from time.

Guglielmo Stendardo spurned the chance to level, heading over from close range in stoppage time as South China held on for a memorable triumph.

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