Arda Turan 75 (A)
Champions League – Game 2 [01st October 2014] – Vicente Calderón Stadium
After a brilliant start to the season for Allegri and i Bianconeri, Juventus find their first goal conceded and their first loss of the 14/15 campaign. No one said going to Madrid and getting a result from Atletico in the Vicente Calderon would be any easy task, but as Juventini, we always expect success. After a good start to the match with Juventus holding 67% of the possession in the first 30 minutes–something Allegri stresses very much in his teams–there were certainly signs of hunger from the Spanish-side.
Today, the referee was very quick to enter his pocket as Bonucci was booked early in the second half, only adding to the stress the defense was already handed between keeping up with Mario Mandzukic and Arda Turan, who were constant threats whenever Atleti were on the attack.
Pogba was very promising today, as he started the match with a great deal of confidence, winning his fifty-fifties and picking out the flanks with long balls and nearly scoring in the 33rd minute with a shot that was just wide of the far post, but Diego Simeone’s men quickly recovered and didn’t allow many other concrete opportunities throughout the rest of the match.
Despite being fouled by Mandzukic five times in the first half, Chiellini was the one who–like Bonucci–was booked, and not the Croatian frontman. While Juventus certainly looked the more promising side after the first half hour or so, Atletico were most certainly the hungrier side. Simeone deserves credit for exploiting Juventus’ weaknesses and did not give them any space to attack or pick out key passes; around the 35th minute, Simeone noticed the space Pogba was allowed and quickly told his men to close down on him and not allow him any space, diminishing much of Juve’s focal point in creativity.
Allegri went into this game with the right mentality, stuck to his usual 3-5-2 formation, and even restored faith in a few players that were doubtful for today, but unfortunately it was not to be enough. Today was the first time conceding a goal all season, the first loss, and the first time not scoring a goal. As frustration continues with Fernando Llorente, who has now not scored in any of the matches he has played this season (despite still playing well and creating many opportunities prior to this match) he was still chosen over Alvaro Morata, who scored his first goal after not even playing 40 minutes in the Black and White shirt. Perhaps a questionable decision, but Allegri wanted a physical, more experienced striker to partner Tevez against a very physical and firm Atletico back-four.
Martin Caceres also returned after picking up a muscle injury a couple weeks back, replacing Ogbonna who was solid against Cesena and Atalanta. The Uruguayan was solid for 99% of his match before being replaced by Roberto Pereyra in a desperate substitution when Juve were in need of something special. If Caceres continues playing the way he does, it will be very, very difficult to keep him off the pitch when Barzagli returns from injury.
Despite the yellow cards, Bonucci and Chiellini were solid in the back, Chiellini with his usual battle with the opposition’s most physical striker, in this case Mario Mandzukic, it is fair to say Chiellini won his personal battle, not allowing Mandzukic to make too much of an impact.
The midfield was strong in possession, but Vidal and Pogba were often closed down and not allowed any space to make significant connections with Tevez or Llorente, which deeply hurt the momentum of the team. Marchisio, again played well, but failed to have much of an impact in the final third. Pogba was arguably the best player for Juventus today, as he oozed with confidence, taking players on, picking out Lichtsteiner a number of times, and had Juve’s only true effort on goal.
Tevez struggled to break down a solid Atletico back-four and was often double-teamed and closed down as soon as the ball was at his feet, something Simeone kept his eye on prior to the match as Tevez has been the most important player so far this season. Llorente failed to have any real kind of an impact and his lack of scoring is becoming more and more frustrating, but it must be kept in mind that he struggled to score early last season as well and ended the season with 16 goals in the Serie A and 2 in the Champions League, so there is still certainly hope for big Fernando.
Morata, Giovinco and Pereyra all came on very late in the game, replacing Vidal, Lichtsteiner and Caceres in a final effort by Allegri to get a result from the match. Morata and Giovinco ironically both found themselves in the referee’s book not too long after coming on and neither were really given an opportunity to create anything. Pereyra, on the other hand, was vital as his first touches nearly created an Own Goal in the dying minutes.
On the goal which came from Arda Turan in the 75th minute, a moment of complacency from Juve’s back-line would be enough to finish of the Gobbi. There is no one individually to blame for the goal, Evra was beat by a beautiful cross, Caceres looked for the foul instead of trying to clear the ball over Mandzukic, and Lichtsteiner was caught slightly behind Turan who tucked it away with a perfect finish to beat Buffon. With Juve’s defense perfect for 1055 minutes (via WhoScored.com), a goal was becoming inevitable. Luckily, the group is still wide open and with much time to bounce back from this defeat.
This Sunday, Juventus host Roma, who have been on an unbelievable run, like the Bianconeri, and are coming off a 1-1 draw from Manchester City. Allegri will need to regroup in training and figure out potential changes as Morata and Pereyra have certainly been proving their worth whenever they step foot on the pitch.
|Man of the Match:||Giorgio Chiellini
|Flop of the Match:||Stephan Lichtsteiner
||Pass Accuracy:||82%||Ball Possession:||64%|
|Fouls:||28||Shots on Target:||0||Formation:||3-5-2|
Atletico Madrid: Moya; Juanfran, Miranda, Godin, Ansaldi; Koke, Tiago, Arda Turan (Siqueira 89); Saul (Griezmann 53); Raul Garcia; Mandzukic (Mario Suarez 84)
Juventus: Buffon; Caceres (Pereyra 78), Bonucci, Chiellini; Lichtsteiner (Giovinco 88), Vidal (Morata 83), Marchisio, Pogba, Evra; Llorente, Tevez
Ref: Brych (GER)