It was about 30 minutes into Tuesday night’s match against Sporting when the stat tracker read the following:
Juventus possession percentage: 59.6
Juventus total amount of shots: 1
I really had no other way to explain the vast majority of this one other than Juventus looked far from the team that was at the San Siro over the weekend. But there was one thing that this 1-1 draw against Sporting and the 2-0 win over Milan had.
That would be Gonzalo Higuain scoring goals.
If it wasn’t for about a 10-second moment of brilliance between Juan Cuadrado and Higuain, then there wouldn’t be a point coming back with Juventus to Turin. There wouldn’t be the fact that second place in Group D still belongs to the Italian champions and the three-point cushion between themselves and Sporting remains intact. There wouldn’t be any of that stuff. Outside of Higuain scoring another big goal in Europe, there wasn’t much of anything to take out of the trip to Portugal.
Essentially, this is what we do know after Tuesday’s draw:
- Juventus didn’t take advantage of a huge opportunity to pull even with Barcelona.
- Juventus played like absolute garbage for much of their visit to Lisbon.
- Max Allegri pretty much going with the same lineup that beat Milan over the weekend probably wasn’t the right thing to do.
Sure, hindsight is a wonderful thing. But it’s also something that we are basically here for because we’re not alongside Max and his coaches as the starting lineup is being filled out and submitted to the right people.
No matter how you feel about Juventus finishing first or second in Group D, the fact that they couldn’t play well in Europe AGAIN is probably the biggest thing to come out of this one. Allegri called it an “ugly” performance, which is pretty much on point and won’t cause me to pull out the thesaurus to try and find another word to describe how Juve played.
The one good thing is that Juve didn’t lose and second place in the group is still theirs and theirs alone. Nothing more, nothing less. Everything in Group D is just the same outside of the games remaining. So we’ve got that going for us, which is nice.
RANDOM THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS
- That was a very bad game for Juventus. They should be thankful that Gonzalo Higuain is on their roster.
- And that is also why you have Gonzalo Higuain on your roster. When games are going badly and you’re creating next to nothing for about 80 minutes, it sure is convenient to have one of the world’s best and deadliest strikers on your team to save your ass. Thank you for signing Pipita, Beppe, because Juve wouldn’t have gotten a point if it weren’t for him.
- After Cuadrado’s assist I figured that the “SUCK IT HATERS” posts would start coming through the Twitter machine — and they did. Look, his assist on Higuain’s goal was very good, but for the other 89 or so minutes of the game he was pretty much like every other player out there. Yes, he was meh. Just like the team was meh.
I get that Cuadrado splits opinions, but for a wildly inconsistent player like he is, it’s tough to like trotting him other there more often than not. He is as cold as he is hot, if not more of the former than the latter. Just another day in the life of having Cuadrado on your roster, I guess. So it goes...
- Sporting were playing without three of its usual starting defenders Tuesday night. And Juventus could only do that? I don’t know whether to credit Jorge Jesus, cuss under my breath whenever Max Allegri is brought up or pretty much all of the above.
- I love Gigi Buffon, as many of you are well aware. But man, that was one hell of a juicy rebound he gave up on Sporting’s goal. And, much to their credit, Sporting did exactly what you’re supposed to do when a keeper gives you such a rebound.
- I miss the real Alex Sandro that was playing like one of the best players in the world.
- I miss Juventus’ midfield making an impact instead of looking absolutely nonexistent.
- I miss Daniele Rugani in the starting lineup. (Okay, that’s all on that.)
- I miss Juventus having a really good right back that made an impact on both ends of the field instead of the current crapshoot state of the position.
- Juventus didn’t play well at all. I don’t really know what else to say about this one. Sorry, but I don’t. It’s just one of those days where you can only say so much about Juventus not playing well in Europe.