Wednesday March 13 2019
A near-perfect Juventus night

Cristiano Ronaldo’s hat-trick against Atletico Madrid will take the headlines, but Elio Salerno saw a Juventus Coach who planned every detail.

Prior to Wednesday night, Juventus had never previously overturned a 2-0 1st leg deficit. However, prior to this season the Bianconeri had also never had an extraterrestrial striker, the Champions League’s greatest marksman, Cristiano Ronaldo.

The headlines will belong to their hat-trick hero, the media will have exhausted all the superlatives, but beyond The Old Lady’s superstar Number 7 was a team that played close to a perfect game and a Coach that had planned every detail.

Max Allegri has come under fire in recent weeks, the defeat in Madrid lead to criticism of his tactics and approach. If Diego Simeone played his best hand in their first meeting, Allegri deployed his Joker in the return leg, leaving Cholo bewildered. The final outcome will go down in Juventus history as arguably their greatest ever Champions League victory, with Allegri the man behind it all.

The tone was set early on. A controversially disallowed goal in the opening minutes did nothing to diminish Juve’s intent. There was a noticeable change in approach from the game that took place at the Wanda Metropolitano. Atletico were unsurprisingly defending in their famous deep block, all of the XI in their own half, risking nothing and attempting to keep their hosts at arm’s length. The intensity from the stands was replicated on the pitch, as Juve hunted every ball and left Atleti without time to think or gain any kind of rhythm.

The home side’s passing was slick, if understandably a little forced at times. Play was direct, it was adventurous and the belief that they could win this game was evident in every element of Juve’s individual and collective play.

Allegri had learned from his mistakes, Juve were pinning Atleti back, using width to stretch the opposition back line. Leo Spinazzola and Joao Cancelo played essentially as wingers, often playing up against their opposite numbers. Ronaldo and Federico Bernardeschi would often double up out wide to help create a numerical superiority. This allowed Juve to create overloads in wide areas, where they could fashion some space to get crosses into the box.

Alternatively, once Juve had explored the options down one side, a quick switch of play manufactured one vs one situations down the opposite flank for the player in possession. This was seen on the second goal, as the ball was neatly worked from Spinazzola to Cancelo, before the right-back’s cross was met by his Portuguese counterpart.

Juventus occupied as much of the pitch as they could, asking serious questions of Simeone’s tactical set-up, and it provided multiple avenues of attack from Allegri’s players.

Mario Mandzukic had the unforgiving task of being the team’s facilitator. The Croatian striker’s physical presence was used to occupy centre-backs Jose Maria Gimenez and Diego Godin, allowing the aforementioned pair of Ronaldo and Bernardeschi somewhat free roles so they could roam in to dangerous pockets of space to collect the ball. This was highlighted on the first goal. As Juventus recovered the ball in midfield, Bernardeschi drifted into space before delivering a pin point cross for Ronaldo to power home.

Behind the ball there was the protection of a three-man defence. In a move we hadn’t seen previously this season, the excellent Emre Can played a double role and covered deep on the right-hand side of Leo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini. This move provided cover for the expansive attacking set-up and nullified any attempted counters launched by Alvaro Morata and co. Miralem Pjanic was freed to move higher and join in the attacking phase, at times all but Wojciech Szczesny were in the opposite half of the field.

With the score at 2-0 and everyone sensing that they were about to witness something special, Allegri shuffled his pack in a move that took many by surprise. Using Juve’s momentum and enthusiasm, he decided to take advantage of a wounded and vulnerable Atleti.

The first sub saw Paulo Dybala enter for the tiring Spinazzola. After some confusion on the pitch, this move resulted in Emre Can dropping to right-back with Cancelo moving to the opposite side, Bernardeschi playing a more withdrawn role in midfield and Dybala taking up a spot on the right side of the attack.

A forced change followed, Mandzukic struggling with injury was removed for teen sensation Moise Kean. Both moves worked wonderfully. At a time were the visitors thought they would be given a break, the fresh legs allowed Juve to maintain their intensity and gave the Spanish team a different problem.

Play became stretched as Kean used his pace to sprint through on goal only for his shot to go wide, while Dybala’s dribbling ability was important in helping maintain possession in the final third.

Then the moment that changed it all. Bernardeschi took advantage of the newly formed space afforded. A smart turn was followed by a powerful driving run from midfield, drawing a foul in the penalty area, the rest is history. The comeback was complete.

The side from Madrid were too passive and Juventus took full advantage. An away goal would have completely changed the picture, but La Vecchia Signora rediscovered her defensive solidity. Lead by the immense Chiellini – theatrics aside – alongside a Bonucci that resembled something of his former self, it was the platform from which this success was built.

Redemption for Juve and their Coach Allegri, who served up a timely reminder of just why he is regarded as one of the world’s finest tacticians. The blueprint for success in this competition has been set, Allegri rediscovered his best and must continue to encourage his team to play in this manner. With this intensity, tactically flexibility and attacking intent, this Juventus can achieve anything.

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Have your say...
He was pushed in the back, there was no trip on the foot. Running at the speed the slightest pushes will cause you to loose balance. But yeah, I still have yet to see Allegri force his team to play effective football with an identity on a consistent basis. He's always forged his name with comebacks and heroics but never with a certain style of play. Thats why I still don't trust him until I start seeing the team play better consistently.
on the 16th March, 2019 at 4:56pm
Great performance, hope they can go all the way. But I'm not holding my breath as Allegri will never learn. As good as it was, still a reaction to ATMs 1st leg performance, as were RM and Bayern return legs, coz he can't play his own football, he had more than enough time to shape the team and give it an Identity but they're still boring and reactive even against weak teams.
@Rosario Berna probably tripped himself but ref couldn't say the push didn't throw him off balance, so he had to give it
on the 15th March, 2019 at 5:59am
Juve need goals from other players also.Too much reliance on Ron.He was brought in for the CL so maybe the other players think they can just sit back and let him do his thing which is wrong.
on the 14th March, 2019 at 10:12am
Not the greatest performance by Juve considering many of their final balls were poor.Ron did what he came to do but before this came he had been poor in Europe for Juve.Needs to continue with this form.
on the 14th March, 2019 at 10:08am
@ Ravanelli

I think you guys should stop playing with that wild fantasy: playing attacking football and win in hell such Wanda Metropolitano against a very tough team is easy. Don't forget footballers are not robots and they can be intimidated that results bad performance. And to be fair, ATM couldn't hurt Juve from open play, Juve actually conceded from dead ball situations. I mean Juve's performance in 1st leg is not that bad.
on the 14th March, 2019 at 8:30am
@ Rosario. The penalty was a bit soft but it was still a foul, there was a clear push on his back and at that speed, is enough to knock you over. Furthermore, Correa didn't even argue, he knew what had happened and none of the Atleti players argued afterwards either, they all graciously bowed out and paid their respects. Chiellini blocked a player, yes, but the ball was much closer to Woj and it was never ever going to be a goal scoring opportunity. Dead that.
on the 13th March, 2019 at 7:19pm
Amazing comeback and a rare performance by Juve.

The big question is why does Allegri need to have his back against the wall in order to be proactive? Do wee need to be close to elimination (just like last season) in order for us to play like this?

Same goes to the performances of the players.

This tie would have been in the bag weeks ago had Allegri went all in for the win, but he clearly played for a draw in the 1st leg. The same mistake that Simeone did in the 2nd leg.

Let's hope this is the last wake-up call that Allegri needs to realize the potential of this squad.
on the 13th March, 2019 at 6:34pm
Strategy and Style is the intrigue of futbol.

Allegri and many other managers choose a passive defense as strategy and endless passing as style. It works against weak teams. Valencia was that way until recently. Suddenly they came to life.

Last night Juve came to life. Allegri had nothing to do with the switch. He merely went with the logic of it. It wins against all defenses. It's the way the greats play. It's the Magic of the game. It unleashes talent. It produces miracles.
on the 13th March, 2019 at 5:37pm
They’ll have to dominate both legs of remaining CL games if they want to get to final.
Barca and Man City they’re biggest rivals.
I wished for a PSG v Juve Final....with all the Buffon not winning trophy v Juve w/ Ronaldo trying to finally win Since 1995 and 5 losing attempts.
Betting on Juve v Barca would be awesome.
on the 13th March, 2019 at 5:17pm
@Giancarlo C's mom
guy no one is downplaying Juve's and Allegris achievement, though you guys are all over the moon, yet you Allegri is fond of leaving it late and believe me, he wont be always lucky! Few of those dejavu still rings a bell; vs BAYERN/ vs MADRID/ vs MANUTD....believe me he wont be lucky enough if he tries it with an English team
on the 13th March, 2019 at 4:44pm
A couple of comments, first, to whoever said that it wasn't a penalty on Bernardeschi, it absolutely was, a dumb push in the back. Kudos to Allegri, he totally got it right, have been waiting all year for this kind of performance, better late than never. It's nice in these type of games to not only have hope, but actual belief. 4 or 5 years ago, when we were knocked out by Bayern, it was like you knew what was going to happen and water torture watching that 2nd half. Not that way anymore.
on the 13th March, 2019 at 4:27pm
I really couldn't believe what i was watching.
It isn't often that Allegri goes all out and lets the handbrake off this team. I was impressed with Bernadeschi as it was his finest game for Juve last night....
But my man of the match was undoubtedly Spinazzola. He was immense. Up and down the left hand side with real intensity. AlexSandro must surely be wondering if he will still be first choice.....
When needing to attack, Cancelo is a far upgrade on DeSciglio too
on the 13th March, 2019 at 12:24pm
No buying referees claims, no favourable decisions, no sarcastic and they are supposed to be the best Italy have, no excuses as to why they were able to, no slating Rolando, the team deserve praise, Max deserves praise, but will he learn a lesson and be pragmatic in the future now he knows the attacking power they have.
on the 13th March, 2019 at 12:15pm
Despite a great performance...the best since they beat united in the first round.. the question is why do they always have to do it the hard way??why cant they be brave all the time...when he subbed and brought on Kean and dybala I hid behind the cushion thinking now we have no defence, but no, they attacked so much the other team were trapped. Please play this way all the time, dominate and force the game. Hopefully an 'easier' draw next of whats left.
on the 13th March, 2019 at 12:13pm
Ronaldo is the GOAT - don't @ me
on the 13th March, 2019 at 12:12pm
Humble Pie
3 cups of sorry
a seasoning of we look stupid now
2 large we hold our hands up
a large helping of won on the pitch
finished with this is how you represent italy
stew for a long time and then go back to the old they bought the ref poor excuse
on the 13th March, 2019 at 12:11pm
I’ve been following Juve for many years and that’s the best Juve performance I’ve seen since Marcello Lippi’s Champions League winning team of 96. Confident, aggressive and stylish football. A joy to watch and a great advertisement for Serie A. I’m Bianconero through and through, but I’m encouraged by the recent rise of former titans of world football AC Milan who can also help complete the transformation of how Italian football is perceived and restore it to the former glory of the 80s and 90s
on the 13th March, 2019 at 11:57am
I did not see the game live: once bitten, twice shy - as the adage goes... But the incessant messages from my friends ensured I was notified about this magical night.

It is so clear for all to see: if Juventus play "a la Juve" the way we can - to our full ability, then very few can stop us from winning the UCL. We are more than capable of such amazing performances. But Allegri has to stop his mind-numbingly defensive tactics and go for the jugular in Europe.

#FinoAllaFine #ForzaJuve
on the 13th March, 2019 at 11:46am
Let's just get a few facts aired. Juventus deserved to win on the night. Atleti created next to nothing bar the free Morata header just before half time. But. The Bernardeschi 'penalty' was nothing short of a joke. He basically tripped himself up. Further to that, Chiellini blocked an Atleti player off the ball in the penalty area only a minute before the final whistle. Went down crying even though it was a stonewall penalty.
on the 13th March, 2019 at 11:20am
This is the Juve that CR 7 must have to reshape Juve into Champion League winner.

They can vary with Dybala and Kean's speed and dexterity.

Emre Can deep and mid-field the most important of the lot. He's tough, smart.

Pjanic still has not joined the flow. Other than switches from side to side, he makes nothing happen forward.

Bernardeschi playing his style and attitude, spaces open.

Imagine if Juve gets a few good passes to Mandzukic.

CR 7 has been yelling for this offense for months.
on the 13th March, 2019 at 10:49am
@ Ade

Shut up, big mouth loser! He knows this team more than you know. And believe me, you know nothing. He knows exactly how his midfielders are still adapting to his tactics. He knows they need some time to gel and he knows well pathetic haters like you will come up for talking trash. It's not a coincidence Juve play awful when Bentancur, Matuidi, Emre Can paired together. I've seen many times Allegri address the issue in press conference but of course tiny brain haters can't see it.
on the 13th March, 2019 at 10:44am
Well done Mr Allegri, well done.
He is always class personified and as he displayed to the world last night, has an excellent first touch!
on the 13th March, 2019 at 10:29am
First great performance of the season by Juve. I'll stop calling Messi as The GOAT if Ronaldo wins the UCL again with Juve. As a Napoli fan, I hope all Italian teams bring pride to Serie A.
on the 13th March, 2019 at 10:18am
the Italian national team is benefit a lot from this juve side. many Italian players getting exposed to this high level competition. spinnazola, digiglio, rugani, bernadeshi, Kean. Mancini must be smiling.
on the 13th March, 2019 at 10:18am
Fino Alla Fine!
on the 13th March, 2019 at 10:13am
this team has too much attacking talent to be playing so negatively in serie a and c.league. while playing that way in serie a is a way of conserving energy. it shouldn't be done in the c.league. go in the cleague and dominate teams. I continue to believe the 4231 is juve best formation. allegri has to use kean a lot more. I know a star player when I see one.4231 Dybala becomes a factor. but in a 433 he is going to look lost. juve best midfield 3 is emre can, matuidi, pjanic.bentancur is average
on the 13th March, 2019 at 10:06am
Extraterrestial is right. Ronaldo isn't human. I remember saying to someone a couple of weeks ago that it won't surprise me if he gets a hattrick in this game and Juve progress but I'm still shocked that it happened. I'm no Juve fan but this win was necessary for Italian football. I'm tired of all the other clubs snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Napoli, Inter and Roma were on the front foot and all ended up falling apart at the final hurdle. The mentality of the players need to change.
on the 13th March, 2019 at 10:05am
Forza Juve!
on the 13th March, 2019 at 10:01am
I am one of his stout critics, now he must have understood the incredible potential latent in this team; its time to realize he can't use his conservative prejudice to checkmate the fearful attacking possibilities they could ascend! As for yesterday kudos to him, that was a night worthy of the old lady and that's the status quo expected of a top team! So we shouldn't get all too nostalgia. Forza juve
on the 13th March, 2019 at 9:59am

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