Juventus have clinched first place in the group stage of the Champions League, the most important headline of the evening, but it came about thanks to the result at the Mestalla, where Valencia defeated Manchester United. The 2-1 result in Spain meant the same scoreline in Bern ended up having no effect on the group standings. Despite all pre-match predictions, the Swiss side overcame Juve, through their ability on the counter and especially their familiarity with the pitch.
Young Boys get the win but Juve top group
THE SWISS TAKE THE LEAD
The artificial surface, watered significantly before kick-off and thus more treacherous than usual, plus the below-zero temperatures made life hard for the Bianconeri early on in this evening’s game.
Massimiliano Allegri decided not to risk injuries to Giorgio Chiellini and Joao Cancelo, who were on the bench and in the stands respectively. The coach lined his team up in a 4-4-2 formation, with Juan Cuadrado at full back and Douglas Costa and Federico Bernardeschi on the wings. Leading the line were Cristiano Ronaldo and Mario Mandzukic.
After the first ten minutes, Juve began to take the initiative and worked two shooting opportunities for Ronaldo, the first cleared off the line by Mohamed Camara and the second going narrowly wide.
In the 23rd minute, Allegri was forced into an early change, as Cuadrado pulled up with an injury to his right leg and was replaced by Alex Sandro. Despite this, the chances were increasing for Juve. Ronaldo was unable to convert Bernardeschi’s cross from a couple of yards out, while Costa put Mandzukic’s assist wide.
Young Boys nevertheless were showing character, inspired by their raucous support. The standard may not have been of the highest quality, but it was still enough to take advantage of the Bianconeri’s mistakes. In the 30th minute, Alex Sandro fouled Moumi Ngamaleu in the area, prompting the German referee Tobias Stieler to point to the spot. Guillaume Hoarau stepped up to strike the ball beyond Wojciech Szczesny into the bottom-right corner.
HOARAU STRIKES AGAIN
Juve tried to react and before half-time had chances through Leonardo Bonucci, whose shot was blocked by Marco Wölfli, Federico Bernardeschi, whose free-kick couldn’t beat the wall, and Ronaldo and Alex Sandro, who both shot wide.
Soon after the restart, Miralem Pjanic lined up a dead ball that Hoarau accidentally deflected onto his own post. Costa then upped his work rate on the left wing and began raining crosses into the box, encouraging the rest of his team-mates to increase their level as well. Play was limited almost exclusively to the Swiss half of the pitch, but the speed of the Young Boys counter-attacks continued to cause problems. Christian Fassnacht narrowly missed the opportunity to double his side’s lead with a poorly directed header, but Hoarau made no such mistake moments later, controlling Ngamaleu’s through-ball at pace before beating Bonucci and curling a shot into the bottom-right corner.
DYBALA COMES ON AND SCORES
One could tell the Swiss were enjoying themselves when Hoarau nearly bagged his hat-trick with an overhead kick from the edge of the area, an effort worthy of Ronaldo himself. Allegri needed to do something and, after replacing Pjanic with Emre Can, the manager sent on Dybala in place of Mattia De Sciglio. Eight minutes after his entrance, La Joya, who had inflicted a hat-trick on Young Boys in the reverse fixture, struck once again, thrashing Ronaldo’s lay-off spectacularly into the net from outside the area.
TOP SPOT SECURED DESPITE LOSS
Juve went hard in search of an equaliser, coming closest when Ronaldo headed a Bernardeschi cross onto the post from a tight angle. Bonucci then pounced on a loose ball but it was saved by Wölfli. Another moment of magic by Dybala looked to have rescued a point for the Bianconeri, but his strike was disallowed after Ronaldo was adjudged to have been offside. The Swiss take away the victory and Juve pick up their second loss of the season to go with home defeat to United. Just like then, the scoreline finished 2-1, but the only damage it causes is to the club’s pride.
YOUNG BOYS 2-1 JUVENTUS
SCORERS: Hoarau 30 (p), 68, Dybala 80.
Wölfili; Mbabu, Camara, Benito, Garcia; Sow (Wüthrich, 46), Lauper, Aebischer; Moumi Ngamaleu (Schick, 85), Hoarau, Fassnacht (Bertone, 80)
Subs: von Ballmos, Assalé, Nsame, Seydoux.
Szczesny; Cuadrado (Alex Sandro, 23), Rugani, Bonucci, De Sciglio (Dybala, 72); Douglas Costa, Bentancur, Pjanic (Emre Can, 65), Bernardeschi; Mandzukic, Ronaldo
Subs: Perin, Chiellini, Matuidi, Kean.
REFEREE: Stieler (GER)
ASSISTANTS: Puckel (GER), Seidel (GER)
FOURTH OFFICIAL: Stieler (GER)
ADDITIONAL ASSISTANTS: Dankert (GER), Osmers (GER)
YELLOW CARDS: Camara 62, Bernardeschi 64, Garcia 72, Wölfli 83.