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Wednesday December 11 2013
Hell froze over for Juventus

Juventus were eliminated from the Champions League following their bizarre final Group B clash away at Galatasaray. Luca Cetta reviews the action.

Going into a big match you hope for any omen or advantage over your opponent. Juventus were hoping their clash in Istanbul against Roberto Mancini’s Galatasaray would end in a similar manner to their last do-or-die European group encounter 12 months ago against Shakhtar Donetsk. Instead, the Bianconeri were dealt a card similar to the one experienced in Perugia 13 years ago, that fateful final day of the 1999-2000 Serie A season.

It will go down as one of the most chaotic Champions League contests of all time. The action at the Turk Telekom Arena verged towards the realms of Test cricket, with play spread over multiple days. It was Galatasaray versus Juventus, versus the elements. On Tuesday the snow fell. And fell. Play did commence, but after further snow and hail, the game was halted just past the half hour mark.

During those 30 minutes Juventus looked comfortable against a Gala outfit which needed to take maximum points. The hosts - playing in front of their typically fervent home support - mustered little to worry Gianluigi Buffon, while Fernando Llorente had Juve’s best chance.

Play was expected to be halted temporarily. As the groundsmen cleared the pitch, the match was abandoned. Determining a restart time for Wednesday was something of a calamity in itself. UEFA decided a time, only to then be told by local police to shift it back an hour.

The groundsmen chopped up the pitch in clearing the snow and come the resumption of play, it was even worse than when the abandonment was called. It looked a potato field in some sections, the ball often stuck in the mud. How play was allowed to resume is something only UEFA can answer. The governing body should be held accountable for 60 minutes of football more suited to amateur level proceedings. Their handling of the situation was fittingly amateurish.

“We certainly tried to have the game postponed and met with the UEFA delegate beforehand, but nobody wanted to listen,” stated Antonio Conte afterwards. “Roberto Mancini said it was dangerous and I agreed with him, I said ‘I think so.’ I don’t think my English is that bad...”

For what football could be played, it called for an hour of determination and concentration. Both sides were cagey, understandably so, once play resumed for the final 15 minutes of the first half. Neither wanted to make a mistake that would equal an even greater challenge after the interval.

Juve could rely on nabbing a draw and qualifying. Gala had to go for it. They did so with greater attacking intent in the second half, nonetheless the Bianconeri stood firm and aside from one fine Buffon save, were not really tested. That was until Wesley Sneijder was on the end of Didier Drogba’s knockdown to score with five minutes remaining. Gala advance with seven points, Juve drops down to the Europa League with six. For the Turkish club it’s a great achievement. They advanced from a group containing Real Madrid and Juventus, changed Coach during the group stage and recovered from an initial 6-1 drubbing against Real.

Conte also rightly noted his side should never have been in this situation to begin with. “I will say our mistake was to get to the last game and play everything here.” Juventus can only blame themselves for sitting on two points from the opening two games. They were punished by Copenhagen on Matchday 1 and after battling from a goal down against the Turks in Turin, conceded cheaply moments later. From there it proved an uphill climb.

Once European football resumes in the new year, Juventus will be in the Round of 32 in the Europa League. The Final will be played at the Juventus Stadium, so that is certainly an aim. But it’s merely a consolation, both football-wise and financially.

No matter the circumstances, it’s an embarrassing exit and now they’ll have to make-do with the poorer European cousin.

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Have your say...
Paul, read your Dec 15th 9:27pm and 9:31pm again. They contradict each other.
Seria A is classified 4th in Europe by people who know better then us.What "major leagues in the world" are you talking about? MLS?
Regarding the national team, Italy was never the fastest team when those four stars were placed on their jersey. Speed is just one ingredient.

And lastly, if you care to call people clowns and on drugs just for their different opinions, at least learn to formulate a correct sentence.
on the 21st December, 2013 at 6:11pm
Wish I were joking Paul but that's the way I look at it. Paul in the history of calcio many have come and many have gone. Saying italian football was their most difficult stay.Mourinho also has quoted in the past that the seria a is the most challenging and very difficult to play in because of their tactical play. If you do plan on responding can you please answer in a mature manner and not in a foolish immature manner. I presume you are an adult and if not try answering like one.
on the 20th December, 2013 at 1:15am
your joking right messi and ronaldo would rip the league to pieces there is no pace in the league my god you must be on drugs if you think they wouldn't run riot .
on the 18th December, 2013 at 10:19pm
@ paul Another good reason would be usual big name players work rate per game in certain leagues is alot less but with more fruitful results, in seria a's case you have to work way much harder to get a result based on the fact the league is tactically more defense minded but stronger in counter attack. Tevez made that quote Llorente and also Higuain per say. My honest opinion Messi or even Ronaldo would never get the results they have in la liga if they played in seria a. Just an opinion.....
on the 18th December, 2013 at 2:48pm
@ Paul. Within respect of the argument about big name players not wanting to come to Seria a, I beg to differ one main reason is that the italian league has shifted to a more midfield defence which changes the traditional 442, Meaning quicker counter attack hence the 352 form or 4321 form. My personal fave is 3421 which certain seria a teams are doing and in the past few years the league has been producing alot of goal difference. That's one of the reasons of many!. More attack mentality.
on the 18th December, 2013 at 2:38pm
as people have made this about the national team I tell you all just got 25/1 on Italy each way. If the English bookies are stupid enough to offer odds like that I'll take it. 4 Gold stars on the Azzurri shirt and you still doubt us. Already the saxon media are talking about who England have to play to win it past the group stage. How about qualifying from the group then worry about who you have to play.
on the 17th December, 2013 at 8:41pm
Watching euro football from a distance. Conti goes to Turk and needs a tie to go through..he plays a 4-3-3..logical choice is 4-2-3-1..sit back in bad weather conditions and counter attack...let your defense get the result..."if you can't win don't lose"...easy to say after the match...a Serie A fan from USA
on the 17th December, 2013 at 12:11am
BOSS I didn't ask for your head, I asked you to behave in an acceptable manner and in line with the general attitude on this blog. You make good points I agree with sometimes, i.e. the EPL being a stronger league, the Italian football not at it's best at the moment, just to name a few but when you go off and every other word out of your mouth is "idiot", I get disgusted and see talking to you a waste of time. I have enough cocky people to deal with in real life.
on the 16th December, 2013 at 11:03pm
@neil

Really? Go to Celtic and beat them 0-3 away. Then talk about least impressive. Napoli should clearly gone through and that was a tragedy but Milan did far better then juve are you kidding me? 6 games 6 points. Around of applause everyone one.
on the 15th December, 2013 at 10:10pm
@paul

Throughout the last 6 month I have spoken very highly of juve as they are by far best in team seria a. They and Napoli are playing the most entertaining effect football currently.

However, I did not like the fact when conte started blaming uefa and the condition of the turf for their failure of going through in CL.. 6 points in 6 games is simple not good enough.
I fully admit Milan is not nowhere near what I want but knowing Milan they will always rise again. It's just a matter of time.
on the 15th December, 2013 at 10:05pm
to see that the Italian league is miles behind the major leagues in the world Italy got ruined by Spain in the final or did you forget that it was embarrassing they also got ruined at under 21 level by Spain no joke i wouldn't be surprised if Italy fail to negotiate the group in the world cup i wish i shared your confidence but judging by the confederations cup and how they rely so much on pirlo i think it will be a short world cup for them sorry if this hurts you.
on the 15th December, 2013 at 9:31pm
that is a typical response when have i made a comparison between england and italy at national team level the comparison between the epl and serie a is not a comparison between english and italian players clown this is exactly what is to expected by ppl that have no clue about football so the italian national team is blessed with lots of pace really? only the blinkered fan is oblivious to this just for the record im no follower of england or the epl but i can comment on what i see and its clear
on the 15th December, 2013 at 9:27pm
A travesty really. Looking at each game, Juve deserved so much more than 6 points and in the end a cruel, cruel exit. Gala are a shoddy excuse for a last 16 team. Same goes for Napoli who got no luck at all either. Milan were easily the least impressive of Italy's teams but they go through, shows the importance of the seeding system doesn't it? Hoping for a Juve-Napoli Europa final!
on the 15th December, 2013 at 9:02pm
@Paul
The national team has no pace yea ? pls dont bring the AZZURRI into this blog.
we will see in the world cup when England will have to play the MIGHTY azzurri in the group stages, Im guessing your English and as an italian its always nice to see how in tournament football Italy rise to acation. and how England do so well with pace .
Im sure England will have alot of the ball in Manaus come June 14th.
just like they did in the Euros.And i wouldn't bother buying an England kit not for 3 games
on the 15th December, 2013 at 8:35pm
Victor unlike you i am capable of criticizing the team i support,at least i say how i see it un like you and milan, maldinis heir speaks hes mind about Milan but you well your something else don't try to jump on the band wagon and gain allies when your glad juve are out. you do nothing but slaughter juventus but you are not capable of criticizing your own team when they are well overdue some the way they run their club.boss and i happen to agree juventus have no one to blame but themselves.
on the 15th December, 2013 at 8:22pm
@paul/boss

Nice try lol
on the 15th December, 2013 at 7:31pm
@ Mustaafaaaa what was the score juve bayern over two legs
on the 15th December, 2013 at 7:17pm
i have to address the money point as well its not about money none of the best players in the world will come to the league if juve had money like arsenal and was head to head with arsenal man u for a player like falcao
he wouldn't go to juventus the league has no drawing power for the best players simple as that. until you accept this your all deluded its miles behind the other leagues.serie a is not fashionable anymore about time you lot get that in your head.
on the 15th December, 2013 at 6:57pm
i support hes posts because he highlights the problems with the Italian game,Ive watched serie a since 1990 and have seen a massive decline in Italian football yet again no one has made valid points on here other than boss and i have agreed with him. there is no pace in the game the national team has no pace all the English teams are through last year they had a blip but this year and years gone by they get through.as i said if you don't like the truth don't read the blog.
on the 15th December, 2013 at 6:50pm
@BoSs

Are you still posting stuff? We all agreed that you should take a break. You bring nothing to the table.
on the 15th December, 2013 at 6:40pm
My only comment I can make is I watch Seria a matches week in week out and epl games also, my only opinion is in pace both are equal but in tactics Seria a is far ahead. The epl is more like the bundesliga. Just an honest opinion that's all. Everybody's entitled to one.
on the 15th December, 2013 at 6:24pm
Oh yeah, Nice to see the stupid BOSS replying as 'paul' once in a while to support his pathetic posts.
on the 15th December, 2013 at 5:37pm
@ OSS

They do better than Juve ? Yes, they have been doing better by playing Barca & Bayern and getting hammered by 4s and 5s. That's better than Juve. Zip your mouth, stop embarrassing yourself, and go blame your parents for not raising you as a man. Pathetic.
on the 15th December, 2013 at 5:34pm
Paul, thanks, it's nice to have somebody else here who can see serie A for what it currently is. Completely agree with the toddler comparison. It is this lack of intensity that causes the downfall for Italian clubs in Europe.

I'm up for having a debate with anyone when they are so deluded they keep blaming finances for Italian footballs undoing. Dortmund were in the final last year how much money did they spend on players. Italian football is in rapid decline. Idiots on here need to accept it.
on the 15th December, 2013 at 4:55pm
Zoli and your fellow colleagues that are calling for my head, care to tell where in this blog I attacked any individuals in my first posts? If you read the thread carefully I brutally criticised juventus and rightly so as I was annoyed. Thereafter I had several idiots spluttering trash talk at me rather then making any points. Personally I don't know why you idiots are allowed to post when all you do is swear. Try making some points. Don't complain about your comments being disallowed.
on the 15th December, 2013 at 4:52pm
Viktoria, Hm what a well thought response, mug.
MustuffU, yes arsenal have money but prior to Ozil they never spent as much as juve over the past few years. Yet they were still performing better then juve in Europe. You know nothing about football u clown.
Luca, you apparently can't read. Ask someone to read my last post out to you that might answer your question.
Italian in can, I can't answer that question but it might be because I make valid points, and provide humour. You don't.
on the 15th December, 2013 at 4:47pm
and lets be honest i don't like the epl but they are miles a head of serie a the pace a lone cripples Italian teams tactically i would say serie a has a edge but when your players have as much pace as a toddler which lets be honest that is most of serie a then the game will pass you by this is evident against the clashes between juve and man u over the years towards the end everyone knew it was a given to man u against juve because of their pace and power ppl are in denial who don't recognize this
on the 15th December, 2013 at 4:14pm
lol i don't see why ppl are offended by boss he has replied to all of the criticism with more than reasonable answers, the points he makes are correct juventus just lost to a Turkish team they drew away from home with a bunch of part timers and couldn't close the game down against the turks at home what more do you want they are rubbish in the champions league they buy cheap and this is what you get i am a juve fan but if you lot don't like the truth don't read the blog.
on the 15th December, 2013 at 4:10pm
D'ambrosio for me not yet , thus only this year he is having a blowout year and Antonelli would be the better choice in his consistencies. Also Menez would be a great choice but 12 mil is a bit steep right now for Juve, not for europa but for next year champions league if we qualify.
on the 15th December, 2013 at 4:00pm
Re Arsenal. They have been spending a fortune for many years, but sadly for Arsenal fans, this has been on wages, not players. Reports last year showed that the Gunners paid out a huge £143 million per annum. With the signing of Ozil, it is likely that this figure has crept over 150 million. Arsenal have a very strange, communist style pay structure, where average players earn similar amounts to key players. I wonder what effect Ozil's signing has had on this paying system.
on the 15th December, 2013 at 9:09am

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