Juventus were unable to capitalise on Dusan Vlahovic’s record-breaking Champions League debut goal as they were pegged back by Villarreal in the first leg of their round of 16 tie.
Vlahovic gave Massimiliano Allegri and Juve the dream start after 33 seconds with a smart weak-footed finish that caught Geronimo Rulli off guard. However, the visitors then refused to attempt to score again.
They surrendered total control from that moment on, and while they were comfortable and compact in their 5-4-1 block for the first hour, a defensive breakdown allowed Dani Parejo to sneak in behind and equalise. Villarreal had previously looked pretty lifeless but the goal emboldened them, and they looked the more likely to score the winner in the closing stages.
In truth, Juve offered very little after the early opener and I’m sure criticisms of the manager’s ideals will be widespread after yet another drab display. The Bianconeri missed a huge opportunity to kill off the tie on Tuesday night, but Villarreal are still very much alive thanks to Allegri’s conservatism.
Here are the Juventus player ratings from the 1-1 draw.
Goalkeeper & Defenders
Wojciech Szczesny (GK) – 6/10 – Szczesny made a smart save from Arnaut Danjuma in the opening period amid a quiet outing for the Pole. There wasn’t much he could do to deny Parejo from equalising. That was on those in front of him. A mixed bag in possession.
Juan Cuadrado (RWB) – 6/10 – Cuadrado’s performed this function before and it’s one he’s comfortable doing. Defensively, he wasn’t troubled by the overload created by Alfonso Pedraza, who bombed on from left-back, after some early difficulties. In possession, however, he was a little rash and the Colombian wasn’t the reliable outlet Juve needed.
Danilo (CB) – 6.5/10 – The Brazilian’s inch-perfect pass in behind teed up Vlahovic for his early strike. Otherwise, Danilo looked assured at right centre-back, where he tamed Alberto Moreno, who constantly tried to operate from the left half-space.
Matthijs de Ligt (CB) – 6.5/10 – Sniffed out the threat of Danjuma with aplomb amid yet another commanding display. The Dutchman didn’t produce the standout sequences seen in his last two outings, with his work on Tuesday night made easier by brilliant positioning and the depth of Juve’s block. Some may think he should’ve covered the run of Parejo in behind for the goal.
Alex Sandro (CB) – 6/10 – There was one stray pass but the Brazilian was otherwise comfortable as part of Juve’s five-man defence. He was brought off at half-time for Leonardo Bonucci.
Mattia De Sciglio (LWB) – 4.5/10 – A difficult night for De Sciglio. He was beaten a couple of times by Samuel Chukwueze in the first half before sloppily giving away possession several times after the restart. The Italian never settled, and he was eventually brought off due to cramp.