Atletico Madrid 2-2 Juventus: 5 Talking Points and Tactical Analysis | Champions League 2019/20
The game started off sluggishly and both teams began in circumspect fashion. However, the game sparked to life in the second half after Juan Cuadrado opened the scoring for Juventus in the 48th minute courtesy an unstoppable left-footed shot.
The visitors doubled their advantage 17 minutes later when Blaise Matuidi powerfully headed past Jan Oblak.
Yet, the hosts get banging at the Old Lady’s door and eventually, broke it down in the 70th minute through Stefan Savic.
Thereafter, the Los Rojiblancos turned the screw enormously and pushed for the elusive second goal.
Their prayers were answered in the 90th minute when Hector Herrera found himself unmarked in the box from a corner. The Mexican made no mistake and found the far corner, in the process, ensuring the hosts didn’t end the evening empty-handed.
Here is a look at the talking points from the game:
#5 Atletico Madrid and Juventus produce an exceptionally cagey and tactical first half
Over the years, Atletico Madrid and Juventus haven’t really been renowned for setting the world ablaze with their offensive displays. The pair has often prioritised efficiency over extravagance, meaning that they’ve possessed the tendency to serve up the odd dreary draw.
However, with both sides meeting each other in a group stage fixture, many hoped that they would play without the handbrake on, considering the opportunity to lay down an early marker. And, unfortunately, for the average football fan, the above failed to materialise in the first half.
Yet, to the teams’ credit, the opening 45 minutes wasn’t short of quality, especially on the tactical front.
Atletico fielded a 4-4-2 system with Koke and Thomas Lemar functioning as the wide midfielders. Unsurprisingly, the former cut inside quite frequently, thereby crowding the centre of the park.
As the Spaniard move into central midfield, Kieran Trippier was allowed the freedom of the right flank to venture forward. Though the Englishman failed to deliver a decisive cross, he was a constant avenue the hosts were willing to explore.
On the other flank, Lemar kept drifting across midfield, meaning that Renan Lodi too, forayed into the offensive third.
Initially, Juventus’ lack of width, compounded by the deployment of Matuidi as the left midfielder, was exploited gleefully by the hosts.
However, as the half progressed, the visitors started shunting out their midfielders wide, thereby restricting the Atletico full-backs from getting forward as frequently.
Consequently, the Bianconeri mounted a few attacks of their own with Cristiano Ronaldo and Miralem Pjanic coming close.
Another fascinating aspect of the opening period was that Maurizio Sarri’s men were content to allow the Los Rojiblancos possession centrally, despite Juventus boasting several ball-playing midfielders in their ranks.
Thus, in consonance to several expectations, the two sides engrossed themselves in an intense tactical battle, wherein neither was willing to give the other an inch, let alone a yard.
And, while that degraded the game as a spectacle in the first half, it certainly ensured that innumerable layers of intrigue were added to the contest.