Juve give stadium touch of class

Juve give stadium touch of class

Singapore Selection 0

Juventus 5

Football made its long-awaited debut at the new National Stadium yesterday and, as a sporting spectacle, it did not disappoint.

The 27,338 spectators at the 55,000-seater complex - and many more at home watching live on television - were treated to a flurry of goals as 30-time Italian champions Juventus outplayed and out-classed a Singapore Selection in what was the first football match under the iconic Dome.

Singapore national team head coach Bernd Stange, who coached the hosts, said he was not disappointed by the one-sided scoreline, but he had harsh words for those who stayed away from the showpiece event.

"It's the first football match at the new stadium, it should be full," said the German.

"It's the first time for me as a coach, against a team like Juventus, that we don't have a capacity crowd.

"We need our supporters, we need a fully stadium, so it can be a cauldron of fear for our opponents."

Several supporters had previously voiced concerns about the high ticket prices, which had started at $45 before being slashed in last-minute offers.

The fans who did show up appeared to enjoy the occassion, guzzling beer and feasting on snacks from the various eateries one hour before kick-off.

Clad in a Singapore jersey, Yohann Lim said: "It's my first time inside the stadium, and the facilities are excellent."

However, the 34-year-old added: "I won't say that the Kallang Roar is back for sure. It will take some time to replicate the atmosphere at the old stadium, but hopefully we can recapture it before next year's SEA Games."

On the pitch, the hosts actually started brightly, with captain Shahril Ishak's movement and forward Nelson Velez's tenacity providing bite up front.

Sadly, that proved to be only a light appetiser to the hefty main course of stylish football that the Bianconeri were about to serve up.

Italian midfield maestro Andrea Pirlo, the darling of fans since Juventus touched down on Thursday, inevitably took centre-stage.

The playmaker wrote his name into the history books when he scored the first goal at the venue - a low free-kick drilled under the wall and into the bottom corner.

Receiving loud cheers every time he touched the ball, the bearded Pirlo made it 2-0 with a penalty one minute before half-time.

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