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Champions League 2019-20: 3 talking points from Juventus's 3-0 win over Bayer Leverkusen

Ume Elvis
ANALYST
Feature
02 Oct 2019, 14:40 IST

Juventus v Bayer Leverkusen: Group D - UEFA Champions League
Juventus v Bayer Leverkusen: Group D - UEFA Champions League

It was just another day in the office for Juventus as they steamrolled to a 3-0 win past Bayer Leverkusen at the Allianz Stadium.

The visitors came into the fixture with a morale-boosting 3-0 away victory over Augsburg in the Bundesliga over the weekend and would have been looking to get their Champions League campaign back on track after they lost on matchday 1 to Lokomotiv Moscow. However, there was to be no respite for them as goals from Gonzalo Higuain, Federico Bernadeschi and Cristiano Ronaldo handed the Bianconeri all three points in what was a routine victory for the Italians.

The win sees Maurizio Sarri's men move to the summit of Group D alongside Atletico Madrid on four points, and puts them in good stead ahead of their blockbuster clash with Inter Milan in Serie A this weekend.

Here, we look at three talking points from the match:

#3 Gonzalo Higuain delivers a vintage performance

Higuain had a goal and assist
Higuain had a goal and assist

The past year has been one to forget for Gonzalo Higuain. Having been offloaded by Juventus following the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo, he then underwent unproductive loan spells at first AC Milan and then Chelsea.

His return to Turin was unheralded and there were numerous reports that the club wanted to get rid of him. But they seemingly didn't get suitable bids for the former Argentine international, and he stayed put.

Sarri's arrival at Juventus portended a new lease of life for Higuain. It was under Sarri's management that Higuain played his best football, scoring 36 goals during the 2015-16 season to break Gunnar Nordahl's 66-year record for most goals in a Serie A season.

So far, the former Real Madrid man has featured prominently for Sarri, appearing in all eight fixtures for Juventus. And though his return of one goal from six Serie A matches is on the low side, the 31-year-old has impressed with his general application.

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Against Leverkusen, Higuain was deployed from the start as the focal point of attack and he gave a positive performance, scoring one goal and assisting another.

The manner in which he scored the opener on the night would have been pleasing to fans of the Bianconeri, as it drew flashbacks to the Higuain of old who tormented defenses across Italy.

He took a brilliant first touch to set himself up before rifling low into the bottom corner from 20 yards to put the home side ahead in the 17th minute. Leverkusen goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky denied Higuain from adding to his goal tally with brilliant saves on two occasions.

He would however still have a further say in the fixture, as he showed great control and nimble feet to square for Bernadeschi to put Juventus 2-0 up. He could have had a couple more assists but for some uncharacteristic poor finishing from Ronaldo.

Juventus are pushing for glory on multiple fronts this season, and if they are to achieve their lofty ambitions, they would need Higuain to keep up with the impressive form he showed today.

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