Juventus
    Juventus
      19.10.2016 12:30 - in: Champions League S

      Five talking points from #OLJuve

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      Starting with Gigi Buffon’s brilliance between the sticks and Juan Cuadrado’s typically crucial strike, Juventus.com runs through the main topics to emerge from Tuesday’s Champions League win at Lyon
      Buffon Brilliance

      It’s difficult to know where to start and which superlatives to choose when analysing a performance such as the one put in last night by Gianluigi Buffon.

      If his first-half penalty save from Alexandre Lacazette was already an excellent stop under immense pressure, his second block on Nabil Fekir’s deflected shot belonged to the realm of supernaturalism. How he could read in that split-second the change in direction of the ball as it glanced off Andrea Barzagli’s body, only he can know.

      And Gigi wasn’t finished there: his two-footed block on Corentin Tolisso’s bullet header from point-blank range was another heart-stopping demonstration of skill and unwavering determination that his net would not be breached.

      For anyone wondering if the iconic Bianconeri keeper and captain’s status in the game could become even more legendary, it just has!

      Juan the man

      Some players just have a knack of scoring when it matters most and Juan Cuadrado is one of them.

      The man who arguably netted Juve’s most important goal last season – that unforgettable last-minute winner against Torino almost a year ago – not to mention his wonderfully crafted finish away to Bayern Munich in March, came up with the goods yet again on the biggest stage yet this campaign.

      Cuadrado needed just seven minutes from coming off the bench to hand his side the advantage at a time in the game when they were understandably under considerable pressure from the hosts, who had one more man on the pitch following Mario Lemina’s dismissal in the 53rd minute.

      It’s easy to see why Juan’s strike might be seen as somewhat a bolt from the blue, given Juve’s numerical disadvantage at the time and the fact that he was far out wide on the right when he struck the missile that would end up inside Anthony Lopes’ near post.

      His team needed something special to turn around their fortunes on the night and Cuadrado, not for the first time, delivered and in some style too.

      Allegri’s interventions

      Juve supporters on the club’s official Twitter profile, @juventusfcen, have pointed to Massimiliano Allegri’s substitutions as pivotal in last night’s victory and it’s clear to see why.

      First and foremost, in bringing on Cuadrado in the 69th minute, Allegri introduced a man capable of turning the game on its head with his pace, trickery and ability to step up to the big occasion. That’s exactly what happened with the Colombian netting the match-winner.

      More easily overlooked, but still noteworthy changes on the night were the introductions of Medhi Benatia, who made a crucial clearance at the death, and Stefano Sturaro, who added grit and steel to Juve’s midfield in the closing stages.

      Awesome Alex Sandro

      He may not be one to steal the headlines, but Alex Sandro has arguably become Juve’s most consistently brilliant performer this season.

      The Brazilian, deployed in his usual left wing-back slot last night before adopting more of a left midfield role following Lemina’s red card, was indomitable yet again down the flank both in terms of going forwards, his forays culminating in two shots – more than any of his team-mates apart from Gonzalo Higuain – as well as in defence, where he made a match-high five interceptions.

      Clean sheet shine

      Following what was undoubtedly the Bianconeri’s hardest-earned clean sheet so far in 2016/17, made possible purely by Buffon’s phenomenal display between the sticks, Juventus are now just one of four teams yet to concede in the Champions League this season alongside Leicester City, Atletico Madrid and Sevilla.

      Their defensive strength is paying serious dividends too, having paved the way to at least three of the four points gained against Lyon and Sevilla in Group H, where the Bianconeri continue to lead the way, with the Rojiblancos currently a close second on goal difference after their win away to Dinamo Zagreb.

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