Juventus Top Performers – UCL Quarterfinals Return Leg


Juventus disappeared in the second half and got played off the park by the hipster Ajax, once again ending the European campaign in bitter fashion.

Wojciech Szczesny: he kept the Bianconeri from drowning even earlier after intermission with two stunning saves, firstly on a one-on-one with Hakim Ziyech, where he stayed up until the very last possible moment and perfectly stabbed his arm out, then a great dive to pull a Donny Van De Beek curled shot out of the top drawer. An outstanding bulwark, but ultimately the goalie can do only so much when the opponents create so many chances and the two goals where a bit random and uncatchable. It is hard not to get bamboozled from Ajax’s quick passing game in narrow spaces and while the back-line obviously struggled as a whole, no defenders had blatant mistakes and mostly paid the price for the squad being unable to control the ball and the rhythm. They got run over by a much more energetic side.

Emre Can: he was the best Juventus performer out there, constantly bringing the pressure and his muscles near the ball and trying to wake up his teammates with some solo runs, but to no avail. He confirmed his tactical importance and he will become a key piece if he can stay constantly healthy. Despite Can’s presence, the midfield, but the whole XI really, experienced the same problems they had in Amsterdam, where they just could not keep up with the opponents and got spooked after the equalizer. Miralem Pjanic did not manage to pull the strings and he always flounders when he has to pitch in a lot defensively. Blaise Matuidi is not as useful when he plays that wide.

Cristiano Ronaldo: again poorly fed, but again deadly accurate, as he struck gold on his first opportunity on a well-crafted corner kick where Ajax defenders stumbled all over themselves. However, he too could not rally up the troops when things turned South in the second half: a goal out of the blue would have been so precious, but some good balls started to find him in the box only when it was too late. Paulo Dybala seemed en route to fine day, but it was cut shot by a quad problem. He did fare better than the last game, this time deployed as false-nine. Federico Bernardeschi never got it going and was too often dispossessed while trying to come up with elaborate plays. Moise Kean had one of two minor chances, but did not work his magic this time.

After the game president Andrea Agnelli and Massimiliano Allegri both announced that there will be no coaching change this summer.

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