Juventus Top Performers – UCL Round of 16 vs Lyon

A sloppy, gassed and quickly dejected Juventus came one goal short of completing the comeback against Lyon despite Cristiano Ronaldo’s heroics as, sans a hobbled Paulo Dybala, the supporting cast proved to be nowhere near the level of the Portuguese ace.

Alex Sandro: he was not only the best defender on the pitch, but straight-up the second-best contributor of the night, as he bust out a vintage performance full of charisma, sprints and tidy defending. He was one of the few that still had some energy in the second half and thus created some dangerous situations galloping down the flank. After the early disadvantage, the defenders were not particularly challenged:  Wojciech Szczesny did not have to make any save and Leonardo Bonucci and Matthijs De Ligt were comfortable as they mostly simply had to intercept passes and battle in the air. Even though there was some lingering uneasiness whenever the opponents countered, the only notable regret in the back was that early weak PK call.

Adrien Rabiot: another collectively pedestrian showing for the midfield, which left a lot to be desired despite some clear justifications. Miralem Pjanic never turned up the volume and was screened too easily by the pressure of the enemies, Rodrigo Bentancur had no juice left and had one of his worst displays in a while, especially as box-to-box, where he could not make any of those quality plays that had characterized his season. Rabiot disappeared in the second half but combined well in the first one with Sandro and Ronaldo and the chain on the left wing was pretty much the only thing going for the Bianconeri. Aaron Ramsey was yet again invisible despite solid minutes.

Cristiano Ronaldo: he did what he could to salvage a situation that had immediately turned for the worst, drilling one PK and pulling one out of the hat with a sudden and lethal strike from distance as the whole offense had pretty much ground to a halt. He was unlucky to be denied on a pair of free kicks too. The Bianconeri could not put clean ball in the box to save their lives and the only chances came on headers and one of the three clear-cut ones probably should have been buried. Federico Bernardeschi came literally inches close to scoring after a dazzling run on the base line, but that was the only highlight of the game. Gonzalo Higuain was swallowed up too easily and could rarely shake the defenders, which was a pity because, when he managed, good stuff usually followed. Tough break for Dybala, who deserved better after a spectacular resumption.

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