Juventus 1-0 Atletico Madrid: 3 Reasons Why the Bianconeri won
Juventus scraped past Atletico Madrid in Turin to ensure top spot in Group D of the UEFA Champions League. The hosts started the better of the two sides and immediately controlled possession. However, they had to wait until stoppage time of the first half to make the net bulge.
In the second minute of added time, Paulo Dybala curled a sumptuous free-kick from an improbable angle to send the Allianz Stadium into raptures.
After the break, Atletico dominated proceedings and they did everything but score. Eventually though, the Old Lady just about held on for three points, meaning that the Los Rojiblancos now face a clutch fixture against Lokomotiv Moscow on match-day 6 of the UCL.
Here is a look at the three reasons that enabled Juventus to post a gritty victory.
#3 Juventus exploit the flanks in the first half
Atletico fielded a narrow four-man midfield for the trip to Turin as Koke and Saul Niguez lined up as the wide midfielders alongside Hector Herrera and Thomas Partey. Consequently, the visitors accorded the hosts an exorbitant amount of space on the wings and the latter made merry, especially in the first half.
On countless occasions, the Bianconeri pushed its full backs high up the pitch, thereby enabling the side to play with width. The ploy allowed them to stretch the pitch slightly to counter Atletico’s compact and compressed defending through the centre.
Additionally, the forward forays of the full-backs meant that several instances of numerical superiority were created, wherein the likes of Kieran Trippier and Renan Lodi were exposed defensively.
The breakthrough also came about when Juventus drew a foul on the right edge of the penalty box after some smart interplay on the flank. Dybala stepped up and whipped the ball past an unsighted Jan Oblak to hammer home Juventus’ prowess on the wings.
Before the encounter began, both sides had opted for a midfield that was primarily designed to operate through the centre of the pitch, meaning that the battle on the flanks became even more crucial.
And, ultimately, the Bianconeri’s effectiveness in the wider areas paved the way for a vital victory.