And now we can welcome Juventus’ big guns to the Champions League party.
Goals from Miralem Pjanic and Gonzalo Higuain got the party in Croatia started and Paulo Dybala’s left-footed hammer — not bad for your first goal of the season, huh? — was the exclamation point on a fine all-around team performance in Juventus’ 4-0 win over Dinamo Zagreb on Tuesday night. You wanted domination, you got domination. It was cruise control from start to finish and the kind of European performance that was about the exact opposite of how Juve opened the Champions League group stage two weeks ago in front of their hometown crowd.
It was the kind of game that probably had Juventus director general Beppe Marotta sitting back in his chair, hoping he had a cigar to puff on and thinking about how well he spent money this summer. Pjanic? Good. Higuain? Good. Dybala, while already having been around for a season, very good.
That’s what Juventus needs in these kinds of European games. It doesn’t matter who the opponent is, really. When you’ve got arguably your top three players contributing the way they did — scoring goals, setting up goals, creating chances — for the better part of the evening, this Juventus team is going to be successful. And that’s exactly what happened.
Now, because of it, there’s no more pressure about getting a first Champions League win the third time out when Juve head to France to face Lyon in the middle of October. None of that. It will now be about not only going into the international break with momentum like it was last month, but also trying to firmly establish their hold atop the group.
Paulo, you’re so smart. Keep doing those wonderful things you do on the field.
I so much wanted that final score to finish at 3-0 based on what Max Allegri had to say at his pre-match press conference on Monday night. Instead, Juventus just had to go ahead and score a fourth goal with the clock winding down. So we get to fit a poker mention into this game. Hey, that’s fine with me. I don’t mind talking about Juventus wins in Europe. They’re totally okay with me.
RANDOM THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS
- Allegri got both of the former Dinamo Zagreb players, Marko Pjaca and Mario Mandzukic, onto the field in the second half. That’s good on you, Max.
- No, seriously, how good was Dybala’s goal? I mean, that’s the look of a guy who’s got his confidence back. You don’t try a shot like that if you’re not feeling good — and the result was even better. That was a bomb. You can’t strike a ball better than Dybala hit that one. Take a bow, our little jewel.
- Following Tuesday’s results, Juventus are atop Group H and have, by far, the best goal differential of the group. So, hey, maybe the sky isn’t falling like we all thought after the scoreless draw against Sevilla.
- Juventus’ defense was absolutely superb. Dinamo had all of four shots TOTAL and Gigi Buffon didn’t have to make a save the entire game. That’s something I can get used to.
- Dani Alves is on pace to score a goal in each game he plays the rest of the season and all of them will come on deflections. That’s probably something that’s sustainable, right?
- A goal and an assist for Pjanic on Tuesday. Following the game he had over the weekend against Palermo, that’s exactly the kind of response you want. See how much easier things are when he’s clicking? That’s the kind of player Juve are going to need him to be — especially with Claudio Marchisio still out for another month at the very least — more often than not if they want to be successful.
- Juventus playing ... well with Hernanes in the lineup this season? Say whaaaaaa?
- JUVENTUS WON IN EUROPE AND DIDN’T KILL OUR HEARTS IN THE PROCESS. That was a pleasant change to say the least.