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Juventus 1 - Olympique Lyonnais 1: Initial reaction and random observations

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Juventus v Olympique Lyonnais - UEFA Champions League Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

The goal, first and foremost, was to get to the knockout stages of the Champions League. From there on, it was trying to finish atop a group that has basically been top heavy ever since the start of European play this season. It was simple, one goes with the other, one after the other.

Juventus, however, will have to wait another day for both of those to happen.

The reigning Serie A champions let Lyon hang around and it came back to bite them in the backside just as much as one could fear. Gonzalo Higuain’s 12th-minute goal gave Juve the lead, but instead of being able to tack on and put the French side away, Juventus only let the opposition hang around. And Lyon made Juve pay with under 10 minutes in regulation to go.

Same old Juve? Yeah, pretty much.

Gone is the top spot in Group H.

Gone is Juve’s advantage over Sevilla on goal differential.

Gone was the chance to lock up a spot in the knockout round on Wednesday night.

That fixture against Sevilla in Spain later on this month that was already important based on how the group was playing out just became that much more crucial.

Nobody wants to finish second in the group. Nobody. Yet it’s a distinct possibility now.

Cool from the spot, indeed. And, by the looks of it, starting to really round into form. (Better than the other kind of round he was at the beginning of his preseason training...)

The attacking Juve side that was charging forward in the first half wasn’t necessarily there in the final 45 or 50 minutes. Maybe some of that had to do with the fact that Max Allegri simply wanted to defend the lead once his team got it or that one of his most important defenders was battling an injury from the middle of the first half on.

Either way, Juventus couldn’t get the second goal it most certainly needed. And, because of that, Lyon made them pay. Again, Juventus proved to be its own worst enemy at times. I’d like to know why Allegri chose to take the foot off the gas after getting a 1-0 lead so early on. Juventus could have scored more than just one goal, probably should have scored more than just one goal, but didn’t. That was the problem — again.

RANDOM THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS
  • HOLY CRAP MAX ALLEGRI WENT WITH A 4-3-1-2.
  • I like Gonzalo Higuain. He was a good signing. (Finish your chances, though, Gonzalo.)
  • The combined age of Lyon’s starting center backs on Wednesday night is 39. Gigi Buffon is 38.
  • Speaking of Buffon, the one save he had to make in the first half was a damn good one. It’s almost like he’s pretty good in goal and not past it like some folks wanted to you to believe.
  • He didn’t score a goal, he didn’t get any assists or anything like that, but I loved Mario Mandzukic’s game against Lyon. The guy, who looked like he was going to come off injured a couple of times, just continued to be the absolute tank that he has shown time and time again. Sure, he doesn’t give the creativity and flair like Paulo Dybala, but he works his absolute tail off and leaves everything on the field.
  • Here’s your weekly reminder that Andrea Barzagli is 35 years old and playing some of the best football of his career right now. The guy just continues to amaze.
  • Sure, just as the injury list was getting relatively short, both Pjanic and Leonardo Bonucci go off injured at the same time in the second half. I don’t wanna write more injury posts tomorrow, guys, so please don’t let this mean you’re out for a couple of weeks.
  • Alex Sandro, who came on for Pjanic, immediately made a big play with his first touch of the ball. Rumor has it that guy is pretty, pretty good.
  • This was the first time where Claudio Marchisio showed signs of being a little off in his first handful of games back from his knee surgery. There was the usual defensive contributions, but his passing, which is usually on point, was not as crisp and accurate as it was in his previous two appearances last week.
  • With that said, Juventus are undefeated in which Marchisio has played in this season. I’m down to keep that trend going, guys.
  • Congratulations to Stefano Sturaro for becoming a massively hilarious and frequently used gif on the internet. Sometimes you just can’t make this stuff up.
  • Now go take care of business against Chievo over the weekend, Juventus, because nobody wants to go into the international break feeling as grumpy as we are right now after the way that game ended.