Juventus reached their first objective of the season by securing the top spot in their Champions League group with a one-nil victory over Atletico Madrid that was accompanied by one of the best team’s showings in a while.
Matthijs De Ligt: he was bound to be the pick anyway because he always sticks out a little bit more than his partner in crime Leonardo Bonucci and then cemented it with an outstanding block on Joaquin Correa, who had slipped past the back-line, shooting the gap in a hurry and simply bum-rushing the opponent. The defence gave up just one clear-cut chance, although Alvaro Morata was likely offside on that incredible whiff, even when the Colchoneros switched to a ludicrously offensive lineup, confirming that it tends to perform better when under pressure. Wojciech Szczesny is oozing confidence these days and did not have to do too much, while the duo of fullbacks for the evening, Danilo and Mattia De Sciglio, did not mess anything up but rarely bothered attacking, so the standard ‘compitino’.
Rodrigo Bentancur: a typical performance out of the midfield as well, which worked well as a whole, especially in the first hour, but nobody really outperformed the others. Tonight’s combination is the one that has worked the best this season because it has an ideal mix of technique and grit and the Uruguayan youngster pitches in both areas, while Miralem Pjanic and Blaise Matuidi focus on one side of the coin. Aaron Ramsey was slightly better than the Atalanta game, but still does not seem to have that extra bounce he had before the injury.
Paulo Dybala: he is in the midst of one the best stretches of his career and he pulled off a pair of uber classy plays he rarely even attempts. The best aspect was that they were all useful and made sense and were not merely displays of exquisite skills. The performance fittingly culmiated in a sterling free kick from almost impossible position that caught Jan Oblak by surprise. Cristiano Ronaldo came back from his injury absence and his run looked more fluid than in the recent past, but not overly explosive and he was a step slow on a pair of runs where he could/would have brought the house down if he fully had his legs underneath him. Federico Bernardeschi had an excellent outing, for a change, and should have been rewarded with a goal on a laser attempt after a lovely interplay, but the post denied him.
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