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champions League: Juventus stuck in Lyon’s puzzle

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27 Feb 2020
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Champions League

Lyon showcased a spirited display to take a surprise lead after the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie with Juventus.

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Juventus started off confidently. Despite the vigor, they failed to create any clear chances before Tousart converted Houssem Aouar’s cross from close range to hand the Ligue 1 side the lead.

Lyon continued to have more possession as the Italian giants struggled to penetrate the resolute defense and registering a shot on target.

With the clock ticking down, Juventus ramped up the pressure. Paulo Dybala made his late strike although it was ruled out for offside.

Lyon’s plan paid off

Rudi Garcia tempted fate before the game. He had stated his side did not have an “anti-Ronaldo plan”.  Judging by his performance, Garcia was perhaps vindicated in his decision not to pay special attention to the Portuguese forward.

Instead, his side defended as a unit. They kept out one of the most feared attacks in Europe by remaining in shape. They also made very few individual errors.

As Juventus poured forward in search of the equalizer late on, Centre-back, Jason Denayer was equal to the challenge. He first out-muscled Ronaldo to force him to miss-control of the ball in the box before stepping up in time to play Dybala offside.

On the other end, Lyon was without captain and talisman Memphis Depay after the forward ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament before the end of last year. However, Aouar pulled the strings from midfield.

Ronaldo struggles to make Juventus great

Ronaldo has been brought crashing down to earth on a night of the Champions league frustration against Lyon. Having scored in a record-equaling 11th consecutive league match on Saturday, the forward looked ready to head into Wednesday’s evening game away at Lyon with goals.

The case turned out to be different. Lyon limited Ronaldo and his side to a grand total of zero shots on target as they wrapped up a 1-0 win.

CR7 was not the only frustrating figure. Fans and pundits took to social media and the overall feeling is that Ronaldo can’t drag Juve to the final and nobody can.

Maybe, even Ronaldo himself believes he might have to do it all by himself. Besides, the forward’s touch map showed he rarely stuck to his left forward position and was all over the pitch.

So, this leads us to the questions, what’s the problem? An average midfield? Boss Maurizio Sarri? Or a bit of everything?

 

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