Juventus turned the tide at Wembley and turfed Tottenham Hotspur out of the Champions League, but who stood out in our Football Italia Player Ratings?
Words: Tom Scholes
Gigi Buffon – 5.5
You could argue that Buffon was at fault for the Spurs goal, but he was anticipating a shot from Christian Eriksen. Apart from that, Buffon was largely untested by Spurs. He made some good parries and clearances from crosses, but there wasn’t a ‘match-winning’ save, if you will.
Andrea Barzagli - 6
Barzagli struggled massively during the first half when he was up against Son Heung-Min, but when he was moved into the middle once Benatia came off, he looked a lot more assured and performed a lot better. However, he was slightly overshadowed by his Italian compatriot…
Giorgio Chiellini - 9
I don’t think I was ever more sure on who my Man of the Match was after a game, but oh my, big Giorgio was outstanding at the back for Juve. He had most tackles, most blocks, most clearances and had Harry Kane wrapped up all night. Yes, it may not be the thing to say Kane was poor tonight, but he was largely ineffective due to Chiellini’s touch-tight marking and finally giving the England striker a real test of strength.
Medhi Benatia - 5
Benatia wasn’t at fault for anything in particular tonight, nor was he outstanding at any point either. However, I guess he can take some pride in the fact that he did play a part in Juve’s turnaround… he was the one subbed off for the formation change that freed up Dybala and Higuain!
Alex Sandro - 6
Yet another example of a player who was poor in the first half, but upped his game when Allegri switched the system around. When the focus of attack was moved to wide play, Sandro was a lot more effective than in the first 45, and also with the defensive effort being primarily down the middle, it gave him a chance to rest up and not defend too much like he did initially.
Miralem Pjanic - 5
Overall, I think Pjanic was quite poor. He got an early booking and it seemed to take a lot of edge out of him (as you would expect), but his passing and even set pieces didn’t really seem to be up to his usual high standards. Maybe it was because a large part of the game was spent with Juve defending deep, but I don’t really remember Pjanic doing all that much to swing the play.
Blaise Matuidi - 5
Like Benatia, Matuidi was hauled off at the hour mark in light of the system swap from Juventus and it worked a treat for them, but it didn’t really shine well on the former PSG man. He wasn’t involved in the game as much as he would have liked and failed to really track any runner from Spurs’ midfield, meaning he was often left chasing the back end of Christian Eriksen or Mousa Dembele, but I’m sure he won’t mind being subbed off if it means he wins at the end of 90 minutes.
Sami Khedira - 4
I had to remind myself at half time that Khedira has won a World Cup, I genuinely forgot he was a key part of a football team at one point in his career. Okay, maybe that’s quite harsh on the German, but yet again he was the poorest player in a rather poor Juventus midfield performance. He added some stability late on when Juve were defending a lead, but I don’t think that’s something to really hang your hat on.
Paulo Dybala - 6
The match winner, but overall he was fairly anonymous. Unlike Kane, he wasn’t kept quiet by one particular Spurs player, but the way that Juventus were playing just didn’t suit him. I saw Dybala at times during the first half coming very deep to get the ball and try to dictate play, but he tried to thread a pass into an area where he should have been standing. It was a middle of the road kind of performance from Dybala, but he’s slowing turning into the LeBron James of this Juve team… always coming up with clutch moments.
Gonzalo Higuain - 7
I’m actually going to give Higuain a lot of credit here, because I felt that whilst he was relatively quiet, much like Dybala, he was so key to this win that it might fly under the radar. He had the intelligence to get into a good goal-scoring position for the equaliser, and we’d be raving all night long if Pjanic had played the pass he did into Dybala for the winner.
Douglas Costa - 7
During the first 45 minutes, only two players could have left the field with their heads held high: Chiellini and Douglas Costa. Costa was the only attacking player to offer anything going forward and should have had a stonewall penalty after being tripped by Jan Vertonghen, but I will never know why it wasn’t given. He carried on the assault on the Spurs flanks in the second half and, just like the first leg, his effort and productivity kept Juve in with a shout of winning.
Kwadwo Asamoah - 6
I never thought I’d write these words, but here we go; the substitution of Kwadwo Asamoah changed the game in favour of Juventus. His introduction helped the whole change in formation that flipped the game in the favour of the Old Lady, but his attacking ability wasn’t what was needed. He allowed other players to move forward with those ahead knowing he had them covered defensively.
Stephan Lichtsteiner - 5
The Swiss full-back didn’t have much of an impact on proceedings but sured things up at the back, like Asamoah, and allowed Costa and Sandro to flow forward a lot more.
Stefano Sturaro - N/A
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