Monday, July 23, 2018

Italian defensive brilliance and Argentine firepower – Juventus´ road to the Champions League final

SoccerNews in UEFA Champions League 2 Jun 2017


Juventus made it six straight Serie A titles and three consecutive domestic doubles in Italy this season.

Now, they face Real Madrid in Cardiff in a bid to add Champions League glory to a phenomenally dominant period at home.

Madrid’s 11 triumphs in Europe’s top competition is the most by any club, but Juventus hold an unwanted Champions League record – the 2015 defeat to Barcelona in Berlin was their sixth final loss, set against two victorious campaigns.

Across 12 games on the road to the Principality Stadium, Massimiliano Allegri’s tactically versatile team displayed their famed defensive steel alongside a growing attacking verve that gives them a serious chance of overturning the weight of history.



Juve did not make the most convincing start to their European campaign on home turf, as Sevilla held them to a 0-0 draw and Corentin Tolisso’s late leveller ensured Lyon left Turin with a share of the spoils. But three wins from three on the road meant Allegri’s men were able to progress as winners from Group H. Juan Cuadrado scored the only goal in Lyon after the visitors had Mario Lemina sent off, while Gonzalo Higuain was on target in a closing 2-0 win over Dinamo Zagreb to end the round robin phase with three goals to his name.


As in the 3-1 win at Sevilla, Juventus benefited from their hosts having a player sent off before half-time in the opening knockout phase. Porto were left with an uphill task after Alex Telles was dismissed for two bookings in 73 seconds. It was starting to look as if Juve might not capitalise but Allegri introduced Marko Pjaca and Dani Alves to instant effect, with both men scoring inside the final 20 minutes. Paulo Dybala was at the heart of much of Juventus’ good work at the Estadio do Dragao and his second-leg penalty followed Maxi Pereira’s red card for deliberate handball to remove any lingering doubt over progress to the quarter-finals.



Before a raucous Juventus Stadium crowd, Allegri’s side brilliantly gained sweet revenge for 2015 by dismantling a completely over-matched Barcelona. With all eyes, as usual, on Lionel Messi, it was another Argentinian forward who performed decisively. Dybala hit a first-half brace with two stylish swipes of his left foot. Giorgio Chiellini made it 3-0 after the break and the Italy centre-back was part of an impeccable defensive effort in the return leg, as Barcelona thudded their heads into a black and white wall without reward at Camp Nou. 


GOOAALLLL!!! @paulodybala!!!! #JuveFCB 1-0! #UCL #ItsTime #FinoAllaFine

A post shared by Juventus Football Club (@juventus) on Apr 11, 2017 at 12:06pm PDT


Allegri reconvened the back three of Leonardo Bonucci, Andrea Barzagli and Chiellini to repel the Champions League’s most irresistible attack force this season. Monaco launched an early onslaught but, where Manchester City and Borussia Dortmund buckled, Juventus stood firm and were rewarded as Higuain crowned a majestic counter-attack by opening the scoring. The Argentina striker doubled his tally as the hour approached and Juve closed out a sixth consecutive Champions League clean sheet. By the time Kylian Mbappe netted against them at Juventus Stadium, Mario Mandzukic and Alves had ended the tie as a contest.


Pipita The Predator HT: #ASMJuve 0-1 #ItsTime For More in the second half! #FinoAllaFine #ForzaJuve #InstaJuve #UCL

A post shared by Juventus Football Club (@juventus) on May 3, 2017 at 12:41pm PDT


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