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Juventus 3 - Olympiacos 2: Initial reaction and random observations

Just a nice, relaxing Juventus game where we could sit back and enjoy the team play. Well, do that and chew off all of our fingernails and take years off our lives. Nice and relaxing...

Valerio Pennicino

There are two ways to look at Juventus' 3-2 win over Olympiacos.

  1. Max Allegri's squad showed great character after falling behind in the second half.
  2. Juventus did their usual stupid stuff in the Champions League, not taking advantage of their scoring opportunities in front of goal and playing like a bunch of buffoons once they got the 1-0 lead.

Seeing how it could have gone after Juventus fell behind 2-1 in the second half, I'm going to take a little bit from one point, a little bit from the other.

It is true that Juventus that Juventus start brightly with their new-look tactics and diamond lineup. That's the way Allegri should have lined things up — play to your strengths, which right now is a Pirlo-Vidal-Marchisio-Pogba quartet in the center of the park. We also got to see a Carlos Tévez-Álvaro Morata striker partnership from the start. It proved to be vital to open the game ... until Olympiacos made Juventus do Bad Juventus things and tie it at 1-1.

And once Juve went down 2-1, the collective reaction — amongst other things — was pretty much, "Uh oh."

Then the ball goes clanging off the post, off Roberto's leg, and over the goal line. Then Paul Pogba does his thing and scores his first ever Champions League goal to put Juve up 3-2 in the 65th minute. Just like that, Juve are back in front and everybody is left checking their heart rates again.

Did Juventus continue to puzzle us in the Champions League? Absolutely.

Did Juventus rally when they needed it the most and get three points? Absolutely.

As frustrating as it is to watch this team, they could have had another meltdown and taken the chance to advance out of this group right out of their hands. Instead, they actually did something about it and got the victory.

You can't say it any better than that. So, I won't. Thank you, Gigi.

Random thoughts and observations

  • Juventus properly defending set pieces for a full 90-minute match is like me trying to run a four-minute mile. It's just not humanly possible right now.

  • Tonight's performance is exactly why I didn't give up hope for Fernando Llorente. I posed the question to a buddy on Twitter: Was this Llorente's best game of the season? His response was basically "This is the game where he's had the most impact." And that's definitely true. This was the Llorente of last season — one where his hold-up play truly was helping the team rather than immediately result in a turnover, where he was a menace in the 18-yard box, and just really sharp overall. 

  • Paul Pogba's match-winning goal — on his 100th Juventus appearance, no less — was like an AND1 Mixtape goal. "Collect the ball, bounce it off the man marking me, spin and fire it into the bottom-right corner of the goal." Not exactly your prototypical Pog-boom goal, but one that proved to be awfully vital.

  • Andrea Pirlo: Still officially locked in on free kicks.

    And how do you like this stat: Pirlo's last 13 goals have all been scored via free kicks. Impressive. Not a bad way to ring in your 100th Champions League appearance, huh? Nope, not at all.

  • I think Kwadwo Asamoah can be a very good left back if that's the direction Allegri wants to move things with a four-man defense. First and foremost, though, let's just hope he can stay healthy right now. There's a reason Simone Padoin was brought on in the second half, and it wasn't because Allegri felt like lighting the human victory cigar.

  • Arturo Vidal tried to fire up the crowd before he took his 94th-minute penalty kick. He then proceeded to miss said penalty kick thanks to a fantastic Roberto save — where have we heard this before? — and thus silencing the Juventus Stadium crowd. You just hope something like that doesn't keep Juve out of the knockout round if they're in position to get there.

  • Group A standings after four rounds:

    Atlético Madrid 12; Olympiacos 6; Juventus 6; Malmö 3

    So you're saying there's a chance? Things are looking a lot better than a couple of weeks ago as Juve struggled to beat Roberto to save their lives in Greece.

  • That game was exhausting. /falls over dead