And now we can stop talking about Carlos Tévez's Champions League goal drought.
It's been five years since Juventus' No. 10 last scored a goal in Europe's biggest club competition. Since then, a whole bunch of words have been thrown onto newspaper sports pages, internet posts and television scripts about just how little Tévez has scored since he found the back of the net against Porto in 2009. It has been a go-to for the British match announcers who watched him in the Premier League every time Juventus played in Europe. "Hey, did ya hear about Tévez's goal drought?" Annoying, so very annoying.
Tévez may have put an end to the drought in Europe when he scored last season against Benfica in the Europa League, but there was still the Champions League to deal with. On Tuesday night, Tévez ended that five-year drought with a pair of lovely goals to lead Juventus over Malmö in the Champions League opener. Not only two lovely goals, but two incredibly different goals that helped Juve overcome a frustrating night in front of goal to say the least.
Just don't remind him that he hadn't scored in the Champions League for five years. He's had enough of that.
.@carlitos3210: "I wasn't concerned about my #UCL drought. I play for a team and with this one I always play as if it were my last game."— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) September 16, 2014
That guy, I really like that guy.
Tévez's Champions League goal drought coming to an end will be the obvious lede, and understandably so. It's not like Juventus' play against Malmö was something to write home about. They struggled in front of goal — and the final third as a whole — outside of Tévez's two appearances on the scoresheet. It wasn't the kind of throttling some thought Juventus might give the minnows of Group A. Instead, it took Max Allegri's squad nearly an hour on the game clock to find the back of the net.
But on a night where were pushing their frustration levels to their usual max in the Champions League, it was Tévez who came up big when his team needed it. That'll kill a few narratives. Back to the drawing board, folks.
"And now it's the time on Sprockets when we dance!"
Random thoughts and observations
- It took Juventus four games to get to the three-point mark in the Champions League group stage last season. The performance was meh, but three points are three points.
- Stephan Lichtsteiner just attempted three more cross while I wrote this sentence.
- With that being said, Lichtsteiner was easily one of Juventus' best players on the night. He touched the ball 109 — ONE HUNDRED AND NINE — times, attempted 12 cross, and was just an overall pain in the ass before he was replaced by Romulo late in the second half. One of the few things he did wrong? Not shooting the ball when he was in on goal. Other than that, the Swiss Express was pretty darn good.
- Gigi Buffon had to make one save against Malmö. And boy oh boy was it a good one.
- I wrote down this exact question on my notepad late in the first half: "Is Kwadwo Asamoah trying to do his best Paul Pogba imitation right now?" So many shots from long distance — all of which went flying over the crossbar. That assist on Tévez's opener, though, that was a thing of beauty. A great run into the box to start it, too.
- Another question I wrote down as the game went on: Should Martín Cáceres be a starter no matter who is available to Allegri for selection? He's in fantastic form right now, there's no doubt about that. He didn't have a tone to do with Malmö seemingly sitting every player they brought to Italy behind the ball, but he was rock solid when called into action.
- Álvaro Morata played all of about five minutes and had his hand in a goal, drawing the foul that led to Tévez fantastic free kick from just outside the box. It's gonna be pretty interesting to see what he can do when he's at 100 percent match fitness and getting a start or two consecutively.
- Question for everybody to debate in the comments: Is Atlético Madrid losing 3-2 in Greece a good or a bad thing for Juventus going forward?
- Three games, three clean sheets in all competitions. I can get used to that. I'm sure Buffon would say the same thing.
- UEFA Champions League Game Time Thread: Juventus vs. Malmö
- UEFA Champions League Preview: Juventus vs. Malmö — The Euro trip begins
- "Your Title Here" — Juventus news link dump for Sept. 15
- A troubled fantasy? Looking at Juventus and the Champions League
- Tevez, Marchisio score as Juventus beat Udinese 2-0 in home opener