Juventus
    Juventus
      25.09.2019 20:30 - in: Women S

      Bianconere go out with heads held high

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      Juventus Women defeated 2-1 by Barcelona in Spain despite valiant efforts

      Following Juventus Women’s 2-0 defeat to Barcelona in the first leg of their UEFA Women’s Champions League Last 32 game two weeks ago, the Bianconere knew they would have to put on a big display in Spain to stand any chance of a turnaround. Although Rita Guarino’s girls didn’t get the result, the performance certainly came, despite Barcelona ultimately triumphing 2-1 (4-1 on aggregate).

      The Bianconere started the game well, keeping the ball and went very close to scoring in the 16thminute and reduce their deficit. Captain, Sara Gama rose highest from a Sofie-Junge Pedersen corner, only to be foiled by a great save from Barcelona goalkeeper, Sandra Panos.

      Despite the great beginning, Juve weren’t able to build on their early threat and Barcelona struck to give themselves a 3-0 aggregate lead in the 32ndminute. Captain, Alexia Puttellas headed in a cross from the right-hand side that gave Laura Giuliani no chance in the Bianconere goal. The hosts felt themselves in the ascendancy and three minutes later clipped the post through Caroline Graham. 

      In the 38thminute Barcelona doubled their lead. A corner kick swung in by Stefanie van der Gragt, was headed towards goal and was unfortunate to come off the back of Cristiana Girelli, as the first half finished 2-0.

      Almost 10 minutes from time, Juventus Women got the goal that their hard work merited. Great play by Eniola Aluko in the box saw her backheel the ball into the path of Lias Boattin and her first-time cross was headed in by substitute, Andrea Staskova, who had just been on the pitch for a matter of seconds.

      Juventus Women exit the tournament with their heads held high, growing a little more in experience in Europe, able to take the proud performance with them into the rest of the season, as the girls look to defend their title for the third-year running.

      POST-MATCH COMMENTS

      Eniola Aluko: "We did very well and were the better team in the first 20 mintutes and executed the game plan perfectly. Sara Gama had a great chance and if she scores it's a different game, and against Barcelona you have to score because if you don't they'll punish you. I'm very proud to be part of this team, overall the score doesn't reflect the first half, certainly this game but we can take a lot of confidence. It's a lesson for us and we know what it will take to improve, we are Juventus and we will continue to grow."

      Rita Guarino: "We raised the European bar, which already rises with an opponent as important as Barcelona. The level was high and I think my team did well over the two games. Today, we tried to have more courage than in the first leg, especially in the initial 20 minutes, then we got caught out and our heads dropped a bit. The approach was spot on and on a couple of occasions we could have taken the lead and maybe we would have seen a different game. The important thing is that we remained in the game throughout the match and we did just that."

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