Juventus Top Performers – Champions League – Game 1

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Juventus got the better of Valencia in a roller-coaster of a game, where the referee decided to took center stage with some bizarre decisions. Here are the best players from a precious two-nothing win the Champions League debut.

Wojciech Szczesny (6 points): the Bianconeri had arguably their best defensive performance of the season at the Mestalla stadium, where they were able to bottle up the opponents and limit them to some small scoring opportunity, mostly from distance, despite the constant pressure in the second half. Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci for the better part of the match eclipsed Rodrigo and Michy Batshuayi, one with his overwhelming physicality, the other with his usual early reads and elegant interventions. The Polish goalkeeper, who had a pair of good saves throughout the 90 minutes, capped everything off by saving a penalty at the last second.

Miralem Pjanic (10 points): the metronome has yet to play a truly great game for what his real tasks are, meaning pulling the strings, dictating the rhythms of the whole contest and dishing through balls for his teammates. However, he buried two more crucial goals, after the magnificent one versus Lazio. He was cold-blooded from the penalty spot, twice picking the same bottom cotter and twice putting the ball the outstretched arm of Norberto Neto with surgical precision.

Federico Bernardeschi (3 points): a dazzling performance by the winger, whose contribution up front was limited simply by the fact that the Old Lady was forced to play an hour in ten men. Prior to the red card to Cristiano Ronaldo, he perfectly set up his teammates for two chances that should have been converted into goals. On the first one, he waltzed his way down the left flank and uncorked a long cross, which the ex-Real Madrid miskicked and Mario Mandzukic subsequently volleyed over the bar. The second was even bigger, as he slid the ball to a wide-open Sami Khedira in the centre of the box, who somehow skied it. He stood out for a pair of deep runs in the defensive phase and with some other classy plays. It looks like he has become a pet player of Massimiliano Allegri for his combination of work rate and quality.

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