Juventus 0-3 Villarreal: 3 takeaways from a European capitulation
With 15 minutes remaining on the clock, Juventus and Villarreal were locked in a stalemate as an extra half an hour of action loomed.
Juve, who came into the second leg as favourites to qualify following the 1-1 draw in Spain, produced a fine first-half performance but couldn’t break the deadlock. A shift in tack from Villarreal boss Unai Emery then completely stifled the hosts, who were utterly toothless after half-time.
Despite their attacking woes, the sequence of events that played out from the 78th minute until the game’s conclusion seemed unfathomable. With the Yellow Submarine unwilling to attack, the idea of them scoring three times to end the Bianconeri’s Champions League hopes in humiliating fashion surely never entered the minds of anybody watching.
Nevertheless, Daniele Rugani’s clumsy challenge on Francis Coquelin set in motion a Juventus collapse in the closing stages. Gerard Moreno just about converted from the spot before Pau Torres and Arnaut Danjuma compounded the Old Lady’s misery.
3 takeaways from Juventus’ 3-0 defeat to Villarreal that saw them exit the UCL
Massimiliano Allegri was outclassed by his opposite number, as Juventus succumbed to the round of 16 curse again. It was yet another miserable European night for Juventini, and here are three takeaways from the defeat.
A good first-half, it has to be said
Juventus missed a big opportunity to kill the tie in Spain, and they had several golden openings to take full control of the tie in the first half of Wednesday’s second leg.
While Juve’s performance in the opening period will get brushed under the carpet due to the eventual outcome, there’s no denying that this was as bright a 45 minutes that the Bianconeri have produced in recent weeks, even months.
The reluctance of both sides to press meant the first half was often a case of settled attack versus settled attack. The technically proficient Villarreal were able to enjoy long periods of possession and progress into the final third fairly easily, while Juve sustained pressure in Villarreal’s half ominously at times.
Despite the control emanating from Villarreal’s possession play and the dynamism they boasted out wide, their goal threat was close to nil. Their only notable chance of the first half was a curling Giovani Lo Celso effort that went wide. The shot boasted an xG of 0.1.
Thus, Juventus were undoubtedly the more dangerous side and they were aided by a coherent possession structure that resembled their opposition’s. Width was created by the advancing Mattia De Sciglio and Juan Cuadrado on the opposite flank, Dusan Vlahovic provided depth, while two or three players always sought to occupy the space between Villarreal’s compact lines.
Cuadrado was particularly effective early on. The Colombian shifted the pace of Juve’s attacks and he was electric in one-vs-one situations. His crosses were an early threat, too, and Alvaro Morata should’ve scored from one of Cuadrado’s excellent deliveries. That was the first of several big chances squandered by the Bianconeri in an impressive first-half display.
Had they taken one of them, with Vlahovic hitting the bar and also missing from close range, then Unai Emery wouldn’t have been able to pull off his second-half masterclass.