18.09.2019 23:00 - in: Match report S

      Thrilling opener ends all square in Madrid

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      It was a hard-fought and entertaining battle between two sides, as they shared the spoils in the opening Group D match.

      A golazo by Cuadrado and a goal from Matuidi wasn’t enough to decide a victory for Juventus in their first Champions League match of the 2019/20 season. Atletico knocked away Juventus’ two-goal lead with a 90th minute strike by Herrera, which meant that the teams had to share a point at Wanda Metropolitano.

      The start of the game was nothing short of interesting, from the electric atmosphere to the ebb and flow between both teams across each end of the field.


      It was Atletico who had the first real chance at goal when Joao Felix pulled off a majestic move from start to the finish: the youngster dribbled past his markers, and toe-poked the ball towards goal which forced Szczesny into making a last-ditch save. Atletico then forced the goalkeeper into making two more saves, through the headers of Gimenez and Felix. All of this within the opening 15 minutes of the game.


      Juventus started moving the ball around more in front of Atletico’s goal, and it allowed for Cristiano Ronaldo to be fire in a powerful shot from distance, that saw Oblak equal to it. In the 34th minute of the game, Pjanic also landed up firing an attempt from range. It was a powerful and direct ball that looked almost destined to test the Atletico goalkeeper; however, it took a quick deflection off the head of Gimenez. The Bianconeri then went on a great counterattack which resulted in Ronaldo delivering in a cross into the box, but it was kicked out for a corner kick. The resulting corner by Cuadrado then saw the Portuguese get onto the end of the ball with a header, but Oblak plucked it out of the air.


      The Bianconeri couldn’t have asked for a more perfect start to the second half when they turned an Atletico opportunity into a goal in the 47th minute. Bonucci cleared a ball from the Atleti box and sent it long upfield to Higuain, who then crossed it to Cuadrado and he fired in an unstoppable effort into the back of the net.


      As the hour mark approached, Diego Simeone’s side started to string some great passes together, and they came close to finding the e    qualiser when Gimenez misfired a great chance that went over the goal frame. Atletico’s wasted chance was Juve’s opportunity and they turned the scoreline to 0-2 when Matuidi got onto the end Alex Sandro’s cross and nodded it past Oblak from close range. The two-goal advantage only lasted a matter of minutes, as Atletico pulled one back through the header of Savic.

      That goal seemed to open things up on either end of the field, and Juventus came agonizingly close to getting a third goal if it wasn’t for a double save by the home team. Oblak blocked Higuain’s shot, but it fell to the feet of Matuidi who then fired at goal which forced Trippier into making a goal line save, with just a quarter of an hour to be played. Szczesny then made a decisive fingertip save to deny Vitolo’s effort, as he pushed it over the bar.


      Three minutes was all that separated the Bianconeri from securing all three points, but a resilient display by Atletico meant that they pulled one back in the 90th minute, after a corner kick saw Herrera got onto it. Before the referee blew the final whistle, Ronaldo came inches close to wrapping up the victory, with an angled drive that sailed across the face of goal; seeing the game end at 2-2

      Atletico Madrid: Oblak; Trippier, Savic, Gimenez, Renan Lodi (Vitolo 76’); Koke, Saul, Thomas (Herrera 76’), Lemar (Correa 60’); Joao Felix, Diego Costa

      Substitutions: Adan, Arias, Felipe, Correa, Llorente, Herrera, Vitolo

      Coach: Simeone

      Juventus: Szczesny; Danilo, Bonucci, De Ligt, Alex Sandro; Khedira (Bentancur 69’), Pjanic, Matuidi; Cuadrado, Higuain (Dybala 79’), Ronaldo

      Substitutions: Buffon, Demiral, Bentancur,Rabiot, Ramsey, Bernardeschi, Dybala

      Coach: Sarri

      Referee: Makkelie (NED)

      Assistants: Diks (NED), Steegstra (NED)

      Fourth Official: Mulder (NED)

      VAR: Kamphuis (NED), Nijhuis (NED)

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