Champions League 2018-19: 4 reasons why Juventus lost to Atletico Madrid
The first legs of the 2018/2019 UCL round of 16 fixtures are over, with some teams having one leg in the quarterfinals, leaving their opponents with a mountain to climb in the second leg.
Some other ties are firmly balanced, with the return fixtures still being anybody's game to take.
One of the fixtures that was highly anticipated when the draws were made, was that of Atletico Madrid and Juventus, owing to both teams' giant stature in the game and similarity in style of play between both sides.
There were also a lot of other underlying factors such as the presence of Cristiano Ronaldo, whose extraterrestrial performances in the UCL over the years played a crucial role in the Bianconerri breaking the bank to sign him.
The fixture was seen as a balanced one between two sides of equal strength, but the weighing scale would have tipped the odds in favor of Juventus slightly owing to the presence of the iconic Portuguese.
However, in a plot twist, Juventus fell to a 2-0 defeat despite VAR overruling a Morata goal in rather controversial circumstances, leaving the Turin giants with all to do in the second leg. In this piece, we shall be taking a look at four factors which contributed to Juventus losing against Atletico Madrid.
#4 Midfield ineffectiveness
Juventus started the match with a midfield comprised of Rodrigo Bentancur, Blaise Matuidi, Miralem Pjanic, and Paulo Dybala, with the Argentine being the focal point of the midfield charged with linking up play with their attack.
On his day, the 25-year-old is one of the most creative players in the world, possessing the ability to unlock any defense with his pinpoint passing and wonderful technique.
However, on the day, he was uncharacteristically off-color, being nothing more than a bystander as the match passed him by.
Elsewhere in the middle, Pjanic also failed to gain a foothold on the match, as Juventus had a lot of possession, but could not translate that into clear cut chances, leaving Ronaldo to fend for himself alone.
By contrast, Koke, Rodri, Saul Niguez, and Thomas Partey were all over the Juventus midfield, overrunning them in the middle of the park and linking up well with their forwards to create chances at goal for their team.
The midfield is an important component of any team, and any team's midfielders who fail to execute their duties effectively could pay the price, as Juventus found out at the Wanda Metropolitano.