Chapter 536 Another Victory and a New Challenge

Chapter 536  Another Victory and a New Challenge

Five days later, on Sunday, January 11th, 2015, the Juventus squad traveled to Naples for their away Serie A match against Napoli. The kick-off was at 8:45 PM, and the game between the two sides proceeded as expected.

Despite being at an away ground, Juventus got off to a flying start and showed no signs of relaxing even for a minute as they ran the Napoli defense ragged through the first half. The Old Lady players were exceptional on the attack, and they had a surprising total of thirteen shots on target during the opening half an hour. However, they still failed to break the deadlock until the 38th minute, right after Arturo Vidal came alive with some magic within the midfield.

After winning an aerial duel close to the center circle, Arturo Vidal moved like the wind and flew toward the other side of the pitch at breakneck speed. He then exchanged a couple of quick one-twos with Carlos Tevez through the middle before receiving the ball again and breaking into an unmarked pocket of space before Napoli's box. Then, as a passing angle opened up, the Chilean remained composed and threaded a fantastic through pass to Zachary Bemba, who continued his rich run of goal-scoring form by finishing superbly from a tight angle.

The opening goal calmed the nerves of the traveling Juventus supporters, who had previously feared that it would be one of those evenings where the ball would not just go into the back of the net, no matter how hard the players tried. Their worries were soon proven true as Rafael Cabral, the Napoli keeper, made several impressive saves to Deny Carlos Tevez on multiple occasions. Then, during the 43rd and 45th minutes, Álvaro Morata and Stephan Lichtsteiner missed clear goal-scoring opportunities that could have allowed Juventus to extend their lead before the half-time break.

The second half commenced after fifteen minutes, and Napoli came out of the tunnel as a much-improved side. The men in blue utilized a mixture of foul play and tight man-marking strategies to contain the on-form Zachary while also doing their best to attack. However, their attacking efforts fell short on several occasions, and they didn't really manage to test Gianluigi Buffon even once during the opening minutes of the second half.

The Napoli players were, of course, not just going to give up even after failing to score on multiple occasions. They committed more men forward and launched more and more fierce attacks on Juventus' defense as the game approached the 65th minute. They looked like a totally different version of their side from the first half and even came close to scoring during the 68th and 71st minutes.

But right as the Napoli men were at the peak of their momentum, they faced the challenge most attack-oriented teams face when playing Juventus. As they committed more numbers forward, they attracted increasingly dangerous counterattacks from the highly-technical Juventus players, like Zachary, who almost doubled Juventus' lead during the 76th minute. Napoli only survived due to the brilliance of Rafael Cabral, the Napoli keeper, who again palmed Zachary's grounded shot out of play to keep his team in the game.

Juventus' lead was eventually doubled during the 82nd minute after Raúl Albiol, the Napoli center-back, failed to control a long ball up the pitch on the left side of his goal. Zachary, who happened to be lurking close by, didn't waste any second pouncing forward like a predator and winning the loose ball. He then accelerated to top speed almost instantaneously before squaring a pass to Álvaro Morata, who unleashed a curling shot past the keeper and scored Juventus' second for the night.

The score was then 2:0 in favor of Juventus, and what followed was pretty much an uneventful final few minutes. The Juventus players resorted to time-wasting strategies to kill off the game by playing monotonous but pointless possession football to deny Napoli any chances to create opportunities. And just like that, the men in striped black and white jerseys maintained their two-goal lead and attained victory after five minutes of extra time.


Having won their away Serie A game against Napoli, the Juventus players became more spirited about the season. They returned to training after just one day of rest and turned their focus to the next fixture, which happened to be a Coppa Italia home game against Hellas Verona.

The Coppa Italia was Italy's flagship domestic cup. Over the past few years, it continued to enjoy remarkable growth. Many clubs in all of Italy's top divisions were eager to join the tournament and strive for the sizeable financial and reputational rewards that came hand in hand with lifting the trophy.

As a football powerhouse in Italy, Juventus had never neglected the domestic cup since its inception. That year was no different, and the Juventus coaches were all eager to partake in the competition. They pushed the players to work hard for the following three days in preparation for their first Coppa Italia match against Hellas Verona.

Zachary was among the key players working tirelessly to attain tip-top match fitness before the game. He didn't complain when the coaches pushed him hard but quietly followed their instructions to the very last detail. He was as focused as ever as he wanted to raise his skills and compete favorably with the best in the world.

In the meantime, the rest of the players couldn't contain their desire to win every competition they participated in. Most of them even gave a training maniac like Zachary a run for his money as they prepared for the Coppa Italia.

Zachary was particularly impressed by the work ethic and determination of Andrea Pirlo, the Maestro who happened to have just returned from injury. Andrea was no longer relaxed during training but worked harder than the rest of his teammates, including Zachary.

Be it gym work in the morning, ball work at lunch break, and extra agility drills late in the evening — Andrea went through them all on a daily basis during those three days before the game against Hellas Verona. He was really going all out to recover full match fitness and return to the squad.

The days went by quickly as the Juventus players trained intensively. And just like that, Wednesday, January 14th, which happened to be the eve of the day when they would face off against Hellas Verona, arrived.

Coppa Italia," the system AI's apathetic voice followed. "The conditions required to initiate the 23:28

2014/15 Coppa Italia Mission have been met."

On that day, the Juventus players trained only up to 3:00 PM. Then, they showered and rested for an hour before heading to the tactics room to attend Coach Max Allegri's pre-match address for the game against Hellas Verona.

Coach Max Allegri, on his part, didn't waste a lot of time on the tactics, as he had already gone through the entire game plan during the past few days of training. He straight away highlighted a few crucial points before naming the squad, which without a surprise, included the just-recovered Andrea Pirlo. Then, the coach assigned individual roles for the game before sending his players back to their homes for the night.



The system notification sounded in Zachary's mind right after he stepped into his room later that night.

"The system has detected that the user is now part of the Juventus squad playing in the 2014/15 Coppa Italia," the system AI's apathetic voice followed. "The conditions required to initiate the 2014/15 Coppa Italia Mission have been met."


"The 2014/15 Coppa Italia Mission initiated successfully."

"Does the user wish to view the mission details right away?"

"Yes, please bring up the details," Zachary answered. In the meantime, he switched on the light and settled on his bed.

"The user's command has been received," the system AI said. "Mission details will be coming up on the interface in a bit. The user can take his time reading them."

The space before Zachary shimmered with a bright luster after the system notification ended. The crystal-like display that was the system interface manifested out of thin air, and Zachary immediately focused on its contents.




#NEW MISSION: 2014/15 Coppa Italia Challenge

->The system has detected that the user is part of the Juventus squad that will play the 2014/15 Coppa Italia. The system has designed an associated mission for the event.


->The user needs to accept the mission first to stand a chance of winning rewards after completing the milestones below.


*Milestone 1: Play 80% of the 2014/15 Coppa Italia fixtures.

*Milestone 2: Help your teammates become the 2014/15 Coppa Italia Champions.

*Milestone 3: Provide the most assists in the 2014/15 Coppa Italia tournament.

*Milestone 4: Become the top scorer of the 2014/15 Coppa Italia tournament.

*Milestone 5: Become the MVP of the 2014/15 Coppa Italia tournament.



->Milestone 1 completion reward: 100 Juju-points

->Milestone 2 completion reward: 2000 Juju-points

->Milestone 3 completion reward: 10,000 Juju-points

->Milestone 4 completion reward: 20,000 Juju-points

->Milestone 5 completion reward: A random-effect elixir that can increase one of the user's fitness attributes by an entire grade. The specific attributes that can be improved after consuming the elixir include Balance and Coordination, Agility, Strength, Stamina, and Endurance.


NB: There will be additional rewards if the user realizes any other milestones that can unlock hidden missions.


->The user can choose not to accept the mission.

*Accept *Reject


*Punishment if none of the milestones has been achieved after the stipulated time (In case the user accepts).

->Minus 70,000 Juju-points

*The user has to complete at least one milestone before the tournament ends to escape the penalty.


*Remarks: Every little victory counts: Never underestimate the power of small but consistent wins whose effects compound over time.


Zachary immediately accepted the mission after reading the mission details. Then, he spent the next few minutes washing up before jumping into bed for the night. He was eager to get ample sleep so that he would be fresh and well-rested for the following day's game against Hellas Verona.