Juventus
    21.10.2015 23:00 - in: Match report S

    Juve held in goalless stalemate

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    The Bianconeri drop the first points of their Champions League campaign after a 0-0 draw with Borussia Monchengladbach at Juventus Stadium

    The Bianconeri’s perfect start to this year’s Champions League campaign came to an end after they were held to a goalless draw by a well-organised Borussia Monchengladbach outfit at Juventus Stadium on Wednesday evening.

    A tight opening period saw Juventus dominate the shots count, fashioning 12 to their opponents’ three, but for the first time in this year’s Champions League neither side was able to hit the target before the break.

    Massimiliano Allegri’s men increased the intensity in the second half, Paul Pogba forcing Gladbach goalkeeper Yann Sommer into a pair of smart saves during a lively spell just before the hour-mark.

    But while the hosts would continue to press with the greater vigour for a goal, they were unable to test Borussia’s stopper any further, as the visitors held firm for a draw and first point in this year’s competition.

    Andre Schubert’s men entered the match in fine domestic form, having won four on the bounce in the Bundesliga, and their intense, high-pressing game prevented the hosts from having any shots until the 16th minute, Alvaro Morata curling wide of the mark from his favoured wide left position.

    Mario Mandzukic was a familiar face on the opposite side for Borussia, the Croatian having played six times against the Foals during his time with Wolfsburg and Bayern Munich, and he got his first sighting on goal in the 20th minute, but his close-range effort was well-blocked by a resolute Gladbach rearguard.

    Juan Cuadrado was his usual menacing self down the right, but the Colombian’s best shooting opportunity came when he cut in from the left to fire whiskers wide of the post.

    And Pogba would come just as close to opening the scoring just shy of the half-hour mark, his venomous drive from distance sailing centimetres away from Sommer’s other upright.

    Juventus were firmly on the front foot at this point, asking increasingly more difficult questions of the Borussia defence, and Alvaro Dominguez showed signs of struggling to keep up with Morata’s quick burst of pace in the 42nd minute that saw the Spanish centre-back trip his compatriot, who may have had a clean run on goal had the foul not taken place. With cries from the crowd to send off the defender, Craig Thomson unfurled a yellow card and the Madrid-born stopper may count himself lucky not to have received further sanction.

    The Bianconeri burst quickly out of the traps after the break, Pogba forcing Sommer into a smart save in the 49th minute with a long-range drive destined for the far corner.

    Eight minutes later, the Frenchman had Borussia’s goalkeeper scrambling once more to his left with an immensely powerful free-kick that had the home support off their feet and urging their stars to maintain the high level of intensity with which they had opened the second period.

    Whereas Gladbach marginally edged the possession count during the first half, Allegri’s men took over control of the ball, enjoying 57.1 per cent of it for the final 45 minutes.

    But they were unable to create any further openings of note, as the visitors were quick in closing down wave after wave of attack that came their way.

    And their defensive organisation would eventually pay off and prevent the hosts from recording a third straight victory in the competition, forcing the Bianconeri to settle for a point that still sees them top the group, albeit with Manchester City firmly on their tails after the Blues beat Sevilla in Group D’s other fixture.

    Allegri will bemoan his side’s lack of cutting edge for the first time this year in the Champions League and will hope for a more clinical display in the final third when his charges play the return leg at Borussia Park on Tuesday 3 November.

    JUVENTUS

    Buffon, Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini, Alex Sandro, Khedira, Marchisio, Pogba, Cuadrado (Pereyra 60), Mandzukic (Zaza 70), Morata (Dybala 81)

    Unused substitutes: Neto, Rugani, Evra, Hernanes

    Coach: Allegri

    BORUSSIA MONCHENGLADBACH

    Sommer, Korb, Christensen, Dominguez, Wendt, Traore (Hahn 82), Dahoud, Xhaka, Johnson, Stindl, Raffael (Hazard 74)

    Unused substitutes: Sippel, Nordtveit, Drmic, Jantschke, Hrgota

    Coach: Schubert

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