As the camera panned to Paulo Dybala for the first time in the minutes following Juventus 2-2 draw against Atalanta on Sunday night in Bergamo, the expression on his face pretty much summed up how a lot of us were feeling about what just went down. His usually picture-perfect hair was draped over his face, his lips basically clamped down on one another as he was contemplating a multitude of things that just took place.
If there was a thought bubble popping up above his head, it would have probably read something along the lines of “What the hell just happened?”
Whether it was Juventus blowing a two-goal lead with some pretty bad defending, Gigi Buffon making a rare mistake, VAR striking again and taking a goal away from Mario Mandzukic or Dybala missing a penalty that might not have been an actual penalty, the annual trip to Bergamo ended up being more about the frustration of a game that should have been won rather than reveling in the fact that Juve were up 2-0 after only 23 minutes.
From the neutral point of view, it was probably great viewing.
But from this point of view, one that should have thought Juventus had the chance to put the game away as the first and second half went on, it was a case of two points dropped rather than the feeling of some kind of thrilling game that I’m sitting here thinking about 60 minutes afterward.
Well, technically I am, but not for the reasons that neutrals will be.
Juventus should have won that game. We can blame it on VAR or Dybala’s missed penalty kick, but it probably should have never come to that. Winning in Bergamo is never easy — especially against this version of an Atalanta team that is really freaking talented and looking to be just as competitive as they were a season.
But, with that said, Juventus should have won.
Instead, here we are. Not just cursing VAR, not just cursing Dybala’s first career missed penalty kick in Serie A, but cursing Juventus’ effort as a whole after they went up by two goals. This should have been a Juve win, not a Juve draw that was frustrating as all living hell when 96 minutes of game time was all said and done.
RANDOM THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS
- Pre-game thought No. 1: No Daniele Rugani again. I don’t get it.
- Pre-game thought No. 2: FEDERICO BERNARDESCHI.
- Post-game thought No. 1: This is stupid. All of it is so stupid.
- Post-game thought No. 2: I’m pretty much in agreement with the first post-game thought. (And not because I wrote it.)
- I will never get used to seeing Gigi Buffon make a mistake in goal. That’s mainly because it’s so rare that you’re just not conditioning to seeing anything bad happen when Buffon makes a save. But to spill that shot ... that’s not the Buffon that I know.
- Side note to Atalanta’s first goal: It had to be one of Mattia Caldara or Leonardo Spinazzzola, didn’t it?
- Dybala’s WhoScored raing: 6.9. In this case, not very nice.
- Bernardeschi’s first start in a Juventus jersey started about as well as one could have hoped for. His first Juventus goal gave his team the lead as he was able to hammer home a rebound. His assist set up Gonzalo Higuain’s left-footed thunderbolt that put Juve up 2-0. Basically, even though he was subbed off in the second half, that was a pretty good outing for somebody who hadn’t been playing significant minutes at all so far this season.
- VAR ... yeah.
- I mean, to basically be going through all of these growing pains with VAR at the highest level of Italian football is just the wrong approach to it. Some people on Twitter have been saying it should have been tested out in Serie B for a year or two and then moved into Serie A once they get it all right, and I’m definitely in that line. You can’t be having some things reviewed by VAR while others that certainly deserve a second look go completely overlooked. It’s just bad in every aspect.
- Spinazzola did all he could to help Juventus get a 2-0 lead. Secret Agent Spinazzola, we thank you.
- The way Higuain finished off his goal made it look like he’s starting to get some of his confidence back. If that shot was hit any harder it might have gone through the net. And he did a pretty good job battling through a couple of tackle attempts from Atalanta defenders, too.
- Enjoy your two-week international break, Juventus. I’m sure this result won’t be forgotten. Goodbye, perfect start to the season. It was fun while it lasted.