Wednesday October 3 2012
A silent Juventus

Juventus could only claim a draw at home against Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday. Luca Cetta assesses their performance and standing in Group E.

If the point gained at Chelsea in the opening Champions League fixture can be considered as good a draw can be, this was the opposite. The black to Juve’s white in London. The Bianconeri drew 1-1 with Shakhtar Donetsk to leave qualification evenly poised, even if the group stage is just two games old.

The performance was subdued and matched the atmosphere at the Juventus Stadium. Fans were put off by high ticket prices and those who did attend protested the fact with silence. They were not helped by what was produced on the pitch, nor gave the players a lift. The roar from the faithful which has aided Juve over the past year was absent. Whatever the issue, this outing runs close the Fiorentina contest a week ago for worst showing thus far in 2012-13. Juventus at times rode their luck in the face of Ukranian ascendancy.

“We went on to the pitch a little too timid and allowed them to control the tempo. We cannot afford that, as nobody gives you an inch in the Champions League,” said goalscorer Leonardo Bonucci. “Juve must always control the game from the first to the last minute. When we attacked them, we put Shakhtar under a lot of pressure.”

Stephan Lichtsteiner was fortunate not to concede an early penalty, while Willian struck the crossbar with virtually the last kick of the game. In between, the side from Ukraine’s east created the better chances. They were especially dangerous on the counter-attack, with their attacking quartet leading the charge. Henrikh Mkhitaryan did not have his shooting boots on, whilst Alex Teixeira caused the Old Lady constant headaches.

There was an immediate response from Juve after conceding, pleasing Massimo Carrera. Teixeira netted after 23 minutes, but, in a move straight from the training ground, Andrea Pirlo drilled a low corner across for the backpedalling Bonucci to curl superbly into the top corner three minutes later. A tried and tested set-piece, it has yielded goals for Juve in the past. Last season against Genoa and Fiorentina they managed a similar trick.

For the final 20 minutes of the first half and for 20 minutes after the interval Juve were the better side. Yet they were unable to capitalise, with Mirko Vucinic, Claudio Marchisio and most glaringly Alessandro Matri, all missing opportunities. As Shakhtar recovered a foothold on proceedings Juve looked out of sorts. The long balls pinged in the direction of Sebastian Giovinco highlighted that things were not going according to plan.

Two points from two matches sees Juve trail group leaders Chelsea and Shakhtar. Carrera noted afterwards: “We know our group is tough and we will fight it out to the end with another two teams. Every opponent is strong in the Champions League, so we must do our best to go as far as possible in this competition.”

The upcoming dual meetings with Danish champions Nordsjaelland take on added significance for Antonio Conte’s men. They must claim six points. Should that occur then Juve will set up a mouth-watering finish to Group E. They will likely need to gain at least four points from the final two matches – at home to Chelsea and in Donetsk – to advance. The Old Lady has been given a European wake-up call by the Ukranians, now it is up to Juventus to show their mettle and pedigree in the competition.

Keep up to date with the latest news and action from Spain's Primera Division with Football Espana - from the team behind Football Italia.

Have your say...
@Abdul Azim
we need to get rid of you.

These type of matches need Conte. Conte was hugely missed in Florence and yesterday in Turin. Carrera seems to make the same subtitutions every game, even if that was a Conte's plan from the training sessions, but yesterday's match required something to be made up momentarily.

I wish Juve deployed 4-3-3 against them. I think that could put the Ukraines under a lot of pressure.

Besides, their coach is what I call a 'real coach'.

Forza Juve.
on the 3rd October, 2012 at 10:45am
Matri didnt come from Catania, Juventus will be okay they can beat Chelsea at home and should beat the dains, Shakter away could be difficult but its an open group for me anyone of the three clubs can top this group.
on the 3rd October, 2012 at 10:41am
This group will go to the wire.....6 points against Njordeslland is a must. Hopefully Shaktar can do a job & beat Chelsea home & away.....
on the 3rd October, 2012 at 10:31am
This will hopefully wake them up and the real Juve will show up. I agree they should rest certain players i.e Andrea Pirlo and try to come up with a play b when Pirlo is not doing well. He's a fantastic player but he should not be so heavily depended on.
on the 3rd October, 2012 at 10:02am
to be honest it was a very VERY VERY disappointing night its a point gained as we could and probably should have lost last night. was expecting flags and noise some kind of show with europe watching was embarsessin, Vucinic was lazy and looked like he was at Roma, Matri? Vidal looks shattered, pirlo needs a rest, Asaomoah wasnt in teh game at all and Lichtsteiner just runs there was nothing else back 3 were the best. change the formation as its gettkn predictable now and change some players!
on the 3rd October, 2012 at 9:55am
When i turned on the TV i was shocked! at the empty stands and there was noooo atmosphere at all! what has happend to the italian support? the atmosphere? passion? drums? flares? noise? its no where at all in Serie A anymore, dont know about the ticket prices etc but Juve look like their location lets them down big time! as no1 wants to go to turin. The game itself was a farce juve were 2nd best, no possession no pressing Attack is Laughable at times. We get away with it in Serie but not europe
on the 3rd October, 2012 at 9:52am
......We NEED to get rid of Matri, as he has been a complete waste since he moved over from Cantania and buy a more successful striker currently on the market and has also stated his desire to come to Turin, Lorente!
on the 3rd October, 2012 at 9:35am
It saddens me to say this, but maybe Juve aren't ready for the Champions League... Last season they were unbeaten in the league but they had over 15 draws, you can't afford this in a knock out competition. And you can't expect fans to continue to pay absurd prices for tickets or you'll see more half empty stadiums!
on the 3rd October, 2012 at 9:34am
Again time after time in big matches if Pirlo is not good Juve is not good. Pirlo is tired and we are still in the beginning of the season. Juve have good players not star players.
on the 3rd October, 2012 at 9:33am
pirlo desreve some rest especially domestic outing with clubs like chievo,siena e.t.c.the club shold sign a world class striker in january.
on the 3rd October, 2012 at 9:21am

Post new comment

Your email address is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
If you have your own website, enter its address here.
Maximum 500 characters.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.
Your responses will be moderated, and sometimes edited, by Football Italia before appearing on the site. Please keep your comments clean and try to keep them relevant to the blog above. We reserve the right to reject views that we deem unsuitable for publication.