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Wednesday October 24 2012
Draw-ventus lack European aura

Juventus have complicated their Champions League path with another draw. Luca Cetta writes after the 1-1 with Nordsjaelland.

A night of Champions League shocks looked on the cards during the opening 45 minutes. Celtic led at Barcelona, Manchester United found themselves two goals down and Chelsea fell behind. In Denmark, minnows Nordsjaelland went blow for blow with Juventus as it remained scoreless.

There was to be no fairytale for Celtic, while Braga let their lead slip to lose 3-2. Shakhtar have proven to be dangerous opponents – especially at home – so perhaps the shock value was not as high when they claimed a win over Roberto Di Matteo’s side. Meanwhile, Juve toiled for little reward after falling behind to Mikkel Beckmann’s fine 50th minute free-kick. That was until Mirko Vucinic rescued a draw. A relief? Yes. The desired result? No. The Danes gained their maiden Champions League point in a result not many saw coming.

It means the Bianconeri have drawn for the third time in Europe this season and for the ninth consecutive game in European competitions. For a club of their stature that record is not good enough. Just as much as winning has become a habit domestically, not winning is prevalent on the continent.

The aura of invincibility which powers the Juve machine in Serie A is not present. When they needed to get out of a tight spot against Napoli they found a way. Here it did not occur. The typical grinta was missing. While a different regime and scenario to when the Turin giants drew their way through the Europa League two seasons ago, this side has not yet altered the pattern.

The same old problem with this Juventus reared its ugly head in. The lack of a clinical edge in attack was evident once again. A total of 33 shots, just nine on target and only one found its way past the impressive Jesper Hansen. The self-confessed Juve fan did his best to frustrate time and again with a series of saves. Gianluigi Buffon and Angelo Alessio claimed Juve deserved to win after creating ample opportunities, but the fact is they failed to capitalise.

The Danish champions should be commended for their performance. They contributed to an entertaining first half, at times holding more possession than Juventus and nearly opened the scoring, only for a superb Buffon stop to deny Joshua John. However, Juve’s captain could do little to prevent the opening goal and for the third straight contest Juventus conceded the lead. Nordsjaelland were then pinned back in their half but defended stoutly, led by youngster Jores Okore.

Could Alessio have looked to the bench sooner? In between Beckmann netting and Vucinic appearing Juve were pressing, but the game followed a predictable pattern. Once the fresh injection was made the Bianconeri looked livelier. Beside his goal the Montenegrin was readily involved, while fellow substitute Nicklas Bendtner was vigorous. On home soil and with something to prove a longer run in place of Alessando Matri may have done the trick. On a disappointing night, the Dane’s cameo and the showing of Sebastian Giovinco – who continued on from an impressive display on Saturday – were bright spots.

Group E has reached the halfway point and Juve lie third. They will fail to gain six points against Nordsjaelland as expected, but now cannot do with less than four. Shakhtar’s win over the reigning champions throws the group wide open, with the Ukrainians currently leading by three points. Should they take something away from Stamford Bridge it will aid the Old Lady’s cause. But Antonio Conte’s men must be concerned with their results as Juve’s European destiny remains in their hands. Seven points from a possible nine is the minimum required. As recent at 2009-10 Inter drew their opening three matches before qualifying and going on to claim the trophy, so all is not lost. Yet what Juventus requires above all is that winning aura to follow them into the Champions League.

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Have your say...
I hope Conte unleashed his wrath on the players.
on the 24th October, 2012 at 10:46am
Not so easy to influence refs in Europe is it now? Juve will always be 2nd rate in Europe, they are living off their 90's glory. Their forwards were pitiful yesterday. Matri and Giovinco are nowhere near Champions League quality. Hope they get knocked out in the group stages. Poor advert for Italian champions.
on the 24th October, 2012 at 10:42am
Juventus definitely need a clinical striker. I think they should give Bendtner more chance and try to play 4-3-3 with Giovinco and Vučinić supporting Bendtner. A striker like Matri and Bendtner need more support.
on the 24th October, 2012 at 10:41am
Juventus superior to Serie A, simply because the rest of the top teams are not in form or in rebuild stage such as Inter-Milan, Milan & Roma. Juventus is very weak team when it comes to playing in a prestiguos competition the CL that is. In comparison to Inter-Milan at 09-10; the club had mourinho as coach and milito as clinical finisher and sneider as play maker; the comparison is not fair, Conte and his assists are amateurs to the CL and the team lacks that professional striker.
on the 24th October, 2012 at 10:37am
Also doesnt help that before ALL or most of our champs league games we have had BIG! serie A games. I can understand that we have games on the weekend before but they all seems to be big decisive games followed by champs league..shouldnt really be an excuse! but dont forget its our 1st season back and well rotating the squad REALLY! needs to be addressed we have players that can do a job sitting on the bench give the 1st team some rest and for god sake! dont play Lucio in Europe!
on the 24th October, 2012 at 10:34am
I also would have liked to see Juve go with a 4-3-3 formation against the Danes, with Vucinic, Bendner and Matri up front or instead of Matri, Giovinco who played well enough. I don't know why Conte keeps playing the 3-5-2 formation so much especially when he knows a win was a must. I am beyond frustrated at the moment but knowing that we are not throwing games in Europe like Napoli still makes up for the poor display of last night.
on the 24th October, 2012 at 10:32am
Matri and giovinco should go play in a middle team table , they r not at juves level , this is the most of what gio can offer ,the only good player up front in terms of consistency is vucinic , why not giving bentner more playing time , u can't wait till the last 20 min before using ur subs , conte made a lot of mistakes yesterday , isla and vidal were zero
on the 24th October, 2012 at 10:29am
I must compliment the Danes for their first half performance, even the second half wasn't that bad. The problem for Juve however is not the winning Aura nor is the missing clinical finisher like some will soon say on here. The problem for Juve in Europe is that they have been to long away from the competition they have lost the maturity that once made them a frightening opponent. The players that knew how to win 1:0 games are no longer there & Juve haven't found their new Identity in Europe yet.
on the 24th October, 2012 at 10:27am
Juve will eventually come good,patience is neede though.
on the 24th October, 2012 at 10:27am
Cant help but feel what ive said ALL along, we NEED!! a WORLD class CF! its as simple as that, squad rotation wouldnt hurt either! as some players would benefit from playing more! why was Lucio even on the pitch?! Marotta cant keep hiding behind "its a team thing" yes we all know that BUT in situations like this ALL the top teams have that bit extra a player when not all is going well just pops up with that all decisive goal. U just cant see it with Juve, MVP look tired too.
on the 24th October, 2012 at 10:26am
you stated; "For a club of their stature " indeed Juve is a stature club but not in Europe anymore! they are good enough in Serie A. Since has been quite some time for Juve not participants in an elite competition such as CL, they still need two more seasons with Europe to find themselves as competitive as they used to be. The CL is different than any other European domestic league. And yes as you mentioned about the clinical finish, in CL a team needs to be decisive to advance further.
on the 24th October, 2012 at 10:24am
what happening on juve..?
They shoud knows that CL is not easy the like of Serie A!!
on the 24th October, 2012 at 10:17am
Let's face it there wasn't very good team selection, I think conte and co thought its gonna be a walk in the park. Giovinco was by far and away the bright spot in the team but having de ceglie start ahead or asamoah was just dumb to say the least and matri instead of vucinic even dumber. Besides that I think its about time to go back to the 4-3-3 for the UCL as the 3-5-2 is clearly not doin it we've had to come from behind all 3 games.But still we SHOULD have won.
on the 24th October, 2012 at 10:07am
SOS calling llorente and drogba. At this level you must be clinical and take your chances or you will be punished. In serie A you can afford to miss some chances but in europe you dont take them you will be punished. I dont see Juve beating chelsea or shaktar away which is a very hard place to win. Very bad for the whole of Italy. Juve arent too far away but without the missing part of the jigsaw they wont get out of the group. It wil then depend how seriously they take the europa league.
on the 24th October, 2012 at 9:45am

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