Tevez 59, 90 (J)
Champions League – Game 1 [16th September 2014] – Juventus Stadium
After last season’s disappointing Champions League run from our Old Lady, today, Max Allegri’s men took an opportunity to start the new campaign with 3 points and succeeded. Despite some poor individual performances at times, like in the previous two matches this season, Juventus managed not only a hard-fought victory, but a third consecutive clean sheet ahead of the Milan clash this Saturday.
With the team still coping with a few injuries and suspensions, Allegri went into this match with the familiar 3-5-2 again and included Asamoah in his most comfortable Center-Mid position with Patrice Evra taking over on the left flank. While Vidal and Pirlo were unavailable, their fill-ins mastered their respective positions and bossed the midfield along with Il Principino, Claudio Marchisio. After nearly an hour of not scoring and Asamoah doing everything he could to make his mark and score from distance, finally Tevez would not only break the deadlock in the Champions League opener, but also score his first Champions League goal in 5 years. It took a beautiful play between Tevez and an electric back-heel from Asamoah for Tevez to slide a shot to the far post beating Olsen while doing so. Not since last season have we seen Tevez so happy after scoring a goal as he celebrated in style with his own little twist on “the robot.”
It didn’t take much longer for Tevez to get his second through a beautiful Free-kick from 20 yards away from goal. Perhaps taking tips from Andrea Pirlo, the Argentine curled an absolute picture-esque shot to beat Olsen for the second time in the match, again celebrating with another robot dance.
Luckily, Giorgio Chiellini was back and took the pitch by storm, not allowing any concrete chances for Malmo to take advantage of as he played with heart and grit pairing with Bonucci. Unfortunately, there were a few times where Chiellini was forced to raise his voice and tell Evra–who at times looked very slow–to keep pushing forward and to help on defense. As per the French Wingback, aside from a few good crosses, his performance was certainly one to build on and further improve after being significantly outclassed by Asamoah in that role.
Again, Marchisio played in the Regista position and every time he does, it seems more and more fitting for the Little Prince. Because the Gobbi controlled the ball for the majority of the match without any real pressure or threats from the Swedish-side, Asamoah and Pogba were able to further advance up the pitch to support Llorente and Tevez, who were fantastic. Llorente, however, was picked out by Lichtsteiner a number of times–as we’ve seen in the past–but failed to find the back of the net, aside from one goal that was immediately called offside by the linesman. Llorente had nearly doubled the score when Lichtsteiner again sent him a beautiful ball to find his head and forcing a great double-save from Olsen.
Facing a 5-3-2, it was no secret that the flanks of Juventus would have to do a lot of tracking back and attacking. Today, Lichtsteiner did not fail to impress as usual, but Evra seemed to struggle a bit more despite finding open space a number of times throughout the match.
Another day, another clean-sheet.
For the third consecutive game of the season, the Bianconeri have managed to not concede, something they found more difficult in last season’s Champions League campaign. Thankfully today was not a repeat of the Galatasaray or Nordsjaelland matches. Today, Allegri and co can go home with their heads held high as they prepare themselves for their trip to the San Siro as the Mister faces his old club of AC Milan.
Although today’s performance was not the prettiest one we’ve seen from Juve, and perhaps the game should have been put to rest much earlier than it did, at the end of the day, the three points were won and there were very positive points to be made about Tevez, Asamoah, Lichtsteiner and the defense.
|Man of the Match:||Carlos Tevez
|Flop of the Match:||Patrice Evra
||Pass Accuracy:||90%||Ball Possession:||71%|
|Fouls:||9||Shots on Target:||7||Formation:||3-5-2|
Juventus: Buffon; Caceres, Bonucci, Chiellini; Lichtsteiner (Romulo 91), Pogba, Marchisio, Asamoah, Evra; Tevez (Giovinco 91), Llorente (Morata 86)
Malmo: Olsen; Tinnerholm, E Johansson, Halsti, Helander, Konate; Eriksson (Rakip 81), Adu, Forsberg: Thelin (Kroon 73), Rosenberg (Mehmeti 54)
Ref: Marciniak (POL)