3 Reasons why Juventus lost 2-0 to Atletico Madrid | UEFA Champions League 2018-19
The game started off at breakneck speed with both sides biting into challenges. The first clear-cut chance fell to Leonardo Bonucci in the first half but the defender fired his header over the bar.
As the half progressed, the hosts started stringing attacking moves of their own with Antoine Griezmann drawing a sharp save from Wojciech Szczesny.
The second period too started off in frenzied fashion but was considerably higher on the goalmouth action quotient. Atletico were presented with a couple of gilt-edged opportunities early yet the home side contrived to spurn them. The hosts even had a goal dubiously disallowed by VAR.
However, they deservedly went ahead in the 78th minute when the ball fell kindly to Jose Gimenez. The Uruguayan made no mistake and slotted the ball into the bottom corner.
Minutes later, Atletico’s talismanic skipper, Diego Godin put the first leg beyond doubt after rippling the net from an acute angle.
The defeat leaves Juventus’ Champions League hopes hanging by the proverbial thread and the Italians would need a spectacular turnaround at the Allianz Stadium in a couple of weeks’ time.
Here is a look at the three reasons which contributed to Juventus’ loss:
#3 Juventus fail to cope with Atletico’s set-pieces
The game at the Wanda Metropolitano was never expected to be an open, end to end affair. Thus, both sides needed to be on their guard perpetually to deny their opponent an inch. However, the away side lost their concentration in the final quarter of the game to hand their Spanish counterparts the initiative.
The first goal was conceded after a penalty box scramble laid the ball on a plate for Gimenez. The corner, which was swung in adroitly by Thomas Lemar caught Juventus’ defence off guard. None of their illustrious defenders took charge of the situation and they ended up getting outmuscled.
As for the second goal, the Old Lady went to sleep on a set-piece from the right wing. Godin was accorded the freedom to pick his spot and the defender exploited it to the tee.
Normally, one would expect the Italian side deal with something as elementary as a free-kick or a corner. Yet, in the biggest match of their season, Juventus came unstuck. And courtesy their defensive frailties on the night, they now have a mountain to climb in Turin.