Soccer-Juve strike late to win Sydney friendly

August 10, 2014

* Pogba and Pepe save Juve blushes

* Vidal left out of matchday squad (Writes through with Allegri quotes)

By Nick Mulvenney

SYDNEY, Aug 10 (Reuters) - Juventus will have to improve their fitness before they begin their quest for a fourth straight Serie A title, new coach Massimiliano Allegri said after they needed two late goals to snatch a 3-2 win over an A-League All Star XI on Sunday.

The All Stars, captained by Juventus great Alessandro Del Piero, were deservedly leading 2-1 with two minutes to go in the friendly played in front of a crowd of 55,364 at Sydney's Olympic Stadium.

French midfielder Paul Pogba, who was named best young player at the World Cup, got Juventus back on terms when he chested the ball down and steered it into the top corner of the net with an exquisite half volley in the 88th minute.

Simone Pepe scored the winner three minutes later with a low drive from a similar position on the edge of the box to give new coach two wins from his first two matches after they beat an Indonesia XI 8-1 on Wednesday.

"It was a good game," former AC Milan coach Allegri told reporters through a translator.

"They were well organised and we were put under some pressure, particularly in the first half when we made some technical mistakes.

"We got better in the second half, but we've still got plenty of work to do, particularly on our physical conditioning."

Argentine Marcelo Carrusca had given the hosts the lead in the ninth minute when he found space for his shot on the edge of the box and stroked the ball past Gianluigi Buffon.

Carlos Tevez hit the post just before the break after a slick one-two with Fernando Llorente but it was not until the 59th minute that the latter headed Juve's equaliser from a Patrice Evra cross.

Substitute Tomi Juric lashed home the All Stars' second goal in the 77th minute after a defensive error by Kwadwo Asamoah but Pogba and Pepe saved the blushes of the visitors.

Allegri said a tactical switch in the last 10 minutes had helped his side get back into the match.

"The 3-5-2 has worked well for Juventus but we would also like to have the ability to show some flexibility in our formation," Allegri added.

Chilean midfielder Arturo Vidal, the subject of intense speculation over a big money move to Manchester United, was again left out of the matchday squad.

Allegri has already said he would like to keep Vidal and maintained that the 27-year-old, who had knee surgery before the World Cup, only returned to training properly this week.

"Vidal has started to train again, he's well and we hope to have him back on board as soon as possible," Allegri said. (Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Justin Palmer)