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Two teams looking to gain an early advantage as they opened their Champions League knockout adventure on Tuesday night, Villarreal and Juventus eventually had to settle for a 1-1 draw.
Despite opening the scoring with just 33 seconds on the clock, Massimiliano Allegri’s men failed to build on the early momentum and will instead take the trip back to Turin knowing they face another nervous night in fourteen days. .
In a competition that could easily have gone both ways at the Estadio de la Cerámica on Tuesday night, we have taken a look at the main issue from an enjoyable showdown in Spain.
The yellow submarine shows their determination
Watching Juventus’ new superstar Dušan Vlahović open the scoring thanks to a clever finish with less than a minute on the clock, many around the Estadio de la Cerámica could have prepared for a long night’s work.
But while Villarreal head coach Unai Emery may still be waiting for his first win in the Champions League knockout stage, the former Arsenal boss was thrilled with the determination his team showed on Tuesday night.
Despite falling to the early lead, the yellow submarine continued to venture forward and should have gone into the break as Tottenham striker Giovani Lo Celso saw his golden chance come back from the post.
While midweek hosts may have been without attacking talisman Gerard Moreno here, Emery’s team eventually came to level when Dani Parejo’s first-time effort found a way past Wojciech Szczęsny.
The shocking Premier League giants Manchester United last year, when they lifted yet another Europa League title, Villarreal dominated big periods in the second half and some in their camp will feel like they could have wasted a chance here.
Nevertheless, to emphasize once again why they can be a challenge for any of Europe’s elites here, Emery’s men will smell yet another opportunity to shine in fourteen days’ time.
Mixed night for Juve
Only when they manage to play a 1-1 draw against Torino and Atalanta before heading out to Spain on Tuesday night, is it fair to say that Juventus have once again struggled with their consistency this season.
Although Vlahović saw the fastest Champions League debut goal after just 33 seconds here, it was truly a tale of two halves for the Italian heavyweights at the Estadio de la Cerámica.
When she asked a few questions during the first half and appeared in cruise control to gain an advantage on foreign soil, the old lady struggled to match the same control through the second session.
While both Vlahović and striker partner Alvaro Morata could have tested Villarreal’s goalkeeper Gerónimo Rulli after the break, head coach Allegri would far from have been happy with his team’s overall performance here.
Once again in a real battle to win yet another top-4 finish in Serie A this season, Tuesday’s visitors also appear to be without a central midfield star when they return to Turin.
When he had to be carried away after appearing to have suffered a painful ankle injury, it has been confirmed that Weston McKennie has sustained a fracture in his second and third midfoot.
All eyes on Turin
While Juventus may have struggled to find top gear with much stability this season, there is no doubt that many thought they would have been able to get past a robust Villarreal team during their knockout races.
But in the end knowing that they were lucky to have left the Estadio de la Cerámica on equal terms here, all eyes will fall on Turin in fourteen days.
Hoping that the red-hot Vlahović can pull them over the finish line when they host the yellow submarine next month, Tuesday’s guests should once again prepare for another nervous evening.
Although Juve may have had to settle for a 1-1 draw in each of their last three showdowns across all tournaments, they have a rather fierce Champions League record at home.
Without a European crown on their name since 1996, it should be highlighted that Allegri’s men have won 10 of their last 11 European meetings in Turin, including a 1-0 victory against defending champions Chelsea last year.
Villarreal: Rulli, Foyth, Albiol, Torres, Pedraza, Chukwueze, Capua, Parejo, Moreno, Danjuma, Lo Celso,
Subs: Estupiñán, Pino, Dia, Trigueros Munoz
Juventus: Szczesny, Danilo, de Ligt, Lobo Silva, De Sciglio, Rabiot, Locatelli, McKennie, Cuadrado, Morata, Vlahovic
Subs: Bonucci, Zakaria, Arthur, Pellegrini
Goal: Villarreal: Parejo 66 ′ – Juventus: Vlahovic 1 ′
Yellow card: Villarreal: Rulli – Juventus: Rabiot
Red cards: REACH
Judging: Daniel Siebert