Lyon 1-0 Juventus: 3 reasons why the Bianconeri lost the game | UEFA Champions League 2019-20
- Highlighting three reasons why Juventus fell to a shock defeat away to Lyon in the Champions League.
The hosts have been in indifferent form in Ligue 1 this season and currently find themselves in the seventh spot on the standings, while their visitors currently lead the way in the Serie A and were expected to get the better of the French side.
This, however, did not happen and a well-placed finish by Lucas Tossart in the 31st minute was enough to settle the contest and give Rudi Garcia's men a slight advantage heading into the second leg in three weeks.
The fact that Juventus failed to score an away goal must have been disappointing to their fans and here, we shall be having a rundown of three reasons why the Bianconerri lost the match in Lyon.
#3 Absence of creativity through the middle
A major reason why Max Allegri was sacked as Juventus manager despite winning five Serie A titles, four Coppa Italias, and reaching two Champions League finals was that towards the end of his tenure, his team lacked the flair obtainable at other top European clubs, with the Bianconeri described as robotic and boring.
In his stead, the club turned to Maurizio Sarri, with the 60-year-old having won plaudits for his style of play at Napoli and it was expected that he would bring this dynamism to Turin.
However, that has failed to happen and Juventus are as stoic as ever, with their midfield lagging behind the likes of Lazio and Atalanta in terms of mobility and creativity in the Italian league.
Miralem Pjanic was supposed to blossom under Sarri, with his abilities firmly suited to the coach's demands of his holding midfielder but the normally dependable Bosnian has struggled for consistency this season.
Against Lyon, Sarri started with a midfield three of Pjanic, Adrien Rabiot, and Rodrygo Bentancur but for all the quality possessed by the trio, they failed to cover themselves in glory. There was virtually no link between the midfield and attack, with most of Juventus' possession coming in harmless sideways passes and hopeful long balls.
Their lack of creativity from the middle highlighted itself in the fact that the visitors did not create any clear-cut opportunity and failed to record a single shot on target for the entire 90 minutes.
In a bid to switch things up, Sarri hauled off Pjanic for Ramsey on the hour mark and Rabiot for Bernadeschi 12 minutes later but it was more of the same which was rather disappointing considering the quality of their frontline.
#2 Excellent tactics by Rudi Garcia
For most of the season, Lyon filed out in a flat-four system but the serious injury sustained by star man Memphis Depay forced coach Rudi Garcia into rejigging his formation and he came up with a 3-4-2-1 system to accommodate both Karl Toko Ekambi and Moussa Dembele.
The formation has brought mixed results to date and despite lining up against one of the continental heavyweights, the former Roma manager still stuck to his guns.
This proved to be an excellent decision and his congested midfield effectively cut off the supply to Cristiano Ronaldo and Gonzalo Higuain from the middle, with Tousart and Bruno Guimares acting as enforcers, while forwards Toko Ekambi and Houssem Aouar also dropped deep and narrow to further neutralize the Juventus midfield.
Out wide, Leo Dubois and Maxwel Cornet were full of running and despite appearing as wing-backs on paper, they spent more time in their half, effectively forming a five-man defence.
While Garcia deserves praise for sticking to his normal formation, the players also deserve commendation for its successful execution.
#1 An overdependence on Ronaldo
When Juventus broke the bank to sign Ronaldo from Real Madrid, they did so with one objective in mind, winning the Champions League. The 35-year-old is a beast when it comes to this competition but even he has his limitations and this was painfully obvious in the clash with Lyon.
Ronaldo is currently on a remarkable run of having scored in his last 11 Serie A matches consecutively but he was nowhere near his top form against Les Gones. He thrives on effective service but the ineffectiveness of Juventus' midfield meant that their star man had to feed on scraps and was limited to speculative shots from distance that were nowhere near troubling for Anthony Lopes.
Despite his struggles, his teammates did not step up, with Higuain and Paulo Dybala on the peripheries for most of the match, while the latter missed a glorious opportunity in the second half.
Last season, Ronaldo scored all five of Juventus' goals in the knockout rounds but if they are to go one further, then other players would have to considerably step up to the plate.
Published 27 Feb 2020, 05:26 IST