Remember the last time Juventus needed a positive result to go through in the Champions League?
Wait, don't answer that. I don't want to rehash any kind of old feelings — or rage — that might have stemmed from said game against some Bayern Munich squad who had a dude with the last name of "Butt" as their goalkeeper.
Juventus needed at least a point to return to the Champions League's knockout stage, a place that had become quite the Juve-less environment in recent memory. It wasn't supposed to an easy task, either. A trip to Ukraine in the middle of winter where the temperature is hovering just around freezing levels. That sounds fun, doesn't it?
As a former U.S. President would say: Mission Accomplished.
I won't get into tactics and break the game down. That's what Ivo is here for. What I will say is this: Juventus went into one of the toughest environments there is in the Champions League — regardless of what the weather may or may not have been — and got more than just the point they needed. They got all three.
Who cares that the lone goal of the match came out of a little help from Shakhtar, Juventus deserved this win. There weren't a lot of style points, but who cares — three points and our boys finish top of the group. Not bad. Not bad at all. And the way Juventus defended the lead, outside of a nervous moments, was something that reminded me just how far this team has come since Antonio Conte took over.
We aren't the only people to notice, either:
Chiellini roars at Buffon after an important clearance. This lot know how to defend a lead.— Amy Lawrence (@amylawrence71) December 5, 2012
Grinta, baby. Grinta, grinta, grinta.
Oh, and one more thing: We'll see you at the stadio on Sunday, Antonio. It's gonna be good to have you back (and to write about it).