NEWS
Tuesday October 1 2019
CL: Juve brush past Bayer Leverkusen

Gonzalo Higuain scored one goal and created another, while Cristiano Ronaldo netted late on as Juventus beat Bayer Leverkusen 3-0.

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The Bianconeri benched Aaron Ramsey and Paulo Dybala for a return to the 4-3-3 formation, with Federico Bernardeschi. Alex Sandro returned from compassionate leave, but Danilo, Mattia De Sciglio, Douglas Costa and Giorgio Chiellini were injured. Bayer missed Karim Bellarabi and Leon Bailey, but also lost Lars Bender in the warm-up, so Mitchell Weiser stepped in to the right side of defence.

Miralem Pjanic’s magnificent ball send Juan Cuadrado down the right, but Gonzalo Higuain didn’t get there in time for the cross.

Pipita was in the right place soon after, though. Jonathan Tah intercepted Cuadrado’s ball over the top, but only knocked it up into the air. Higuain waited for it to come down, spun on the edge of the box, took a touch and rifled into the bottom corner, all with his right boot.

The Germans continued to keep possession for long periods, 58 per cent in the first half, but without creating genuine danger. Juve waited for their moment to pounce on errors and Higuain’s curler was palmed away by Lukas Hradecky.

Cuadrado has adapted very well to the right-back role, getting back to defend and block a Kevin Volland cross-shot.

Charles Aranguiz and Bernardeschi fired over, while Cristiano Ronaldo forced a save from the edge of the box on another Cuadrado assist.

Juventus did double their lead with a well-worked move. Higuain burst down the left, tried to pull it back from the by-line for Cristiano Ronaldo, but it squirmed past him and Bernardeschi had followed it up to fire in from 12 yards. It was the Italian’s first goal of the season and a real confidence booster.

This seemed to wake Juve up and Pjanic thumped the near post directly from the corner flag, then Hradecky’s first touch was so bad that he nearly scored an own goal.

Higuain almost provided his second assist of the game, pulling the ball across from the left for Cristiano Ronaldo to fire straight at the goalkeeper in another surprisingly poor finish by his standards.

The first real scoring opportunity Bayer Leverkusen had was on 78 minutes, as Wojciech Szczesny came rushing off his line and Paulinho got the lob away over the bar.

Jonathan Tah’s header from a corner also sailed off target, but Ronaldo finally got his name on the scoresheet at the fourth attempt with a precise angled drive after Rodrigo Bentancur and Paulo Dybala combined to thread through.

Juventus 3-0 Bayer Leverkusen

Higuain 17 (J), Bernardeschi 62 (J), Ronaldo 89 (J)

Juventus: Szczesny; Cuadrado, Bonucci, De Ligt, Alex Sandro; Khedira (Bentancur 74), Pjanic, Matuidi; Bernardeschi (Ramsey 77), Higuain (Dybala 83), Cristiano Ronaldo

Bayer Leverkusen: Hradecky; Weiser, Tah, S Bender, Wendell; Havertz, Aranguiz (Sinkgraven 80), Baumgartlinger, Demirbay (Amiri 46); Volland, Alario (Paulinho 68)

Ref: Collum (SCO)

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