Three things we learned from Juventus vs. Real Madrid

Leave a comment

Juventus is the real deal.

They proved that in Turin on Tuesday as Carlos Tevez lead them to a 2-1 victory over Real Madrid.

[ RELATED: Juve beat Real 2-1 ]

The reigning European champions couldn’t cope with the high-pressure of the Italian champions and Juve’s experienced core prevailed to take a slender lead into the second leg at the Santiago Bernabue next week.

Here are three things we learned after a pulsating clash in Italy.

HIGH-PRESSING PAYS OFF FOR JUVE

Early on Juventus came flying out of the traps and pinned Real Madrid back. It was relentless from the home side but proved impossible to keep up as the Italians took a breather in the first half and were caught out by Real Madrid as Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 76th Champions League goal, overtaking Lionel Messi for the night, and despite dominating Real they only have a one-goal lead to take to Spain with them. That said, it was admirable application from Juve as their oldest outfield player, Andrea Pirlo, covered the most distance during the match. Arturo Vidal was the heartbeat of Juventus’ side as the Chilean destroyer broke up the play and allowed the likes of Alvaro Morata and Carlos Tevez to stay high and occupy the shaky Madrid backline. Tevez epitomized Juve’s workrate and the leading scorer in Serie A saw his shot parried into the path of Morata for the first and his driving run won the penalty kick, which he scored, for the second. The Argentine warrior is the perfect spearhead for Juventus’ wily side and his relentless running set the tone for a famous win for La Vecchia Signora. Tevez has now scored eight times in the Champions League this season and stole the show.

[ VIDEO: Ronaldo scores 76th UCL goal, makes history once again ]

It was all about high-pressing from Juve. There was poise to Massimiliano Allegri’s tactics. He knew his side couldn’t continue to press Real’s stars higher and higher up the pitch so Juventus switched to a back three once they went 2-1 up to give themselves more protection. It worked, as they stood off Real and dealt with long, floating balls into the box with ease.

source:
Tevez stole the show as Juventus beat Real Madrid in Turin.

AGE BEFORE BEAUTY

Juventus’ squad is ageing like a fine French wine. On Tuesday their legendary goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffaon was 37, while Pirlo (35), Patrice Evra (33), Carlos Tevez (31), Giorgio Chiellini (30) and Stephan Lichtsteiner (31) all started and provided bags of experience. Allegri has sprinkled in the youth of Paul Pogba and Alvaro Morata to balance things out this season as the Italian side clinched their fourth-straight Serie A title last weekend. On the back of that triumph that were spurred on by an incessant home crowd who were witnessing Juve’s first appearance back in the UCL semifinals since 2003. The old heads did not let the team down and even the likes of Fernando Llorente (30) and Andrea Barzagli (33) helped shore things up late on as Allegri tweaked his formation. Plus Llorente shoudl have done better with a late header he sent straight at Iker Casillas.

[ RELATED: Champions League schedule ]

With the Serie A title wrapped up, Juve’s old boys will now get plenty of rest between now and the second leg in Madrid next Wednesday. Nobody expected Juventus’ old guard to make a run to the Champions League final this season but they are 90 minutes away from achieving just that. Juve’s experience prevailed over Real’s star-power in the first leg.

BALE LOST IN HEAT OF THE BATTLE

Returning from injury for his first start in three weeks, Gareth Bale was a shadow of his usual self. As the stat above shows, he failed to make an impact in the first half and it took him until the 65th minute to produce a glimmer of quality as he cut back on his left foot in the box and clipped a cross to the back post which just evaded the onrushing Ronaldo. The 65th minute. That was as good as it got before he was substituted for Jese and the Welsh wizard had another night to forget in a Real Madrid jersey.

source: AP
Ancelotti has a lot of thinking to do ahead of the second leg.

It wasn’t just Bale who looked lost, playing in the unfamiliar role of central midfield Sergio Ramos gave the ball away time and time again as the center back was bullied into rushing passes by Vidal. With Luka Modric out injured and Sami Khedira left out of the squad due to his contract situation which will see him become a free agent in a month, Toni Kroos played slightly deeper alongside Ramos and the German playmaker sprayed the ball around superbly. However, Real’s midfield couldn’t support Ronaldo and Bale sufficiently and the balance seemed off. That’s something they have a week to tweak and get right for the second leg. Pepe could play in a true holding role and allow Kroos to roam, while Khedira could be brought in from the dark or perhaps Asier Illarramendi will be thrust onto the big stage. Carlo Ancelotti has options, but he also has a one-goal deficit to overturn.

There were moments of brilliance from Real in the first half after Ronaldo equalized. In the 40th minute a sumptuous flowing move down the left saw Isco’s overlapping run produce a cross that James Rodriguez somehow headed against the bar from four-yards out. The situation is not disastrous for Ancelotti, his side can win 1-0 at home in the second leg and go through, but Real Madrid’s manager will be a little worried after his team were bullied out of the first leg. He needs his star men, like Bale, to step up if Real’s quest to defend their UCL crown will continue.

Hasenhuttl promises Southampton’s best XI for Pompey clash

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Southampton play against Portsmouth for the first time in over seven years on Tuesday as the South Coast derby returns.

[ MORE: League Cup scores live

The two South Coast cities are just 18 miles apart and the port cities just do not like one another. Not one bit.

Premier League Saints head to League One Pompey as the red hot favorites to advance to the last 16 of the League Cup, but with local pride on the line and two fired-up fanbases expectant, Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl knows it will not be easy.

That is why he is picking his best possible team.

“I will pick the strongest XI that I can put on the pitch because we know about the importance of the game,” Hasenhuttl said.

Hasenhuttl confirmed that Nathan Redmond may only be on the bench to start with as he rushed back to play in the 3-1 defeat to Bournemouth on Friday, while star winger Moussa Djenepo remains out injured with a muscle problem.

Focusing on what will be a lively atmosphere at Fratton Park, Hasenhuttl called for calm from both sets of fans.

“What I want to see is a football celebration. From two teams who do everything to win. This is what I want,” Hasenhuttl said.

Local pride is on the line on and off the pitch, and Pompey v. Saints is a fixture which is rarely played due to both teams either falling on tough times or having the best years at totally different times.

In the past 31 years there have been only 10 games between these teams. That makes the passionate derby even more intense.

The pressure will be on Saints to win big, and if they don’t then Hasenhuttl and his players know extra pressure will be piled on them for the rest of their Premier League season.

VIDEO: Every Premier League goal from Matchweek 6

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Matchweek 6 was a beauty across the Premier League, and in case you missed anything, here is every goal scored.

Click on the video above to watch the action, as Man City won 8-0, Liverpool edged out Chelsea, West Ham stunned Man United, Arsenal launched a stunning comeback against Aston Villa and so too did Leicester City against Spurs.

And that’s just naming a few highlights from the 10 games.

What a weekend.

Mexicans Abroad: Weekend Roundup

Getty Images
Leave a comment

It looked as if Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez had scored his first goal for his new club Sevilla, at the expense for a former one, Real Madrid. Until it was taken away.

Chicharito came off the bench for Sevilla for a second-straight game and did his best to make an impact, but his offside goal aside, Sevilla slumped to a 1-0 defeat. Elsewhere, Edson Alvarez played in his first Eredivisie derby as Ajax took a 1-1 draw away from a trip to PSV Eindhoven.

Here is a list of several other Mexico national team affiliates making a name for themselves (or not) outside of Mexico this weekend.


Serie A

Hirving “Chucky” Lozano, Napoli — Lozano came off the bench on Sunday for Napoli in the 73rd minute of it’s 4-1 win over Lecce.

Premier League

Raul Jimenez, Wolverhampton Wanderers — Jimenez started but was subbed off in the 76th minute of Wolves 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace. Jimenez now hasn’t scored in three-straight games in all competitions since the international break.

La Liga

Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, Sevilla — Chicharito came off the bench in the 69th minute against his former club, and even appeared to score the game-tying goal. Alas, it was ruled out for him being offside.

Hector Herrera, Atletico Madrid — Herrera finally made his first start for Los Colchoneros on Saturday in a scoreless draw with Celta Vigo. Herrera went 60 minutes before being substituted.

Andres Guardado, Real Betis —  The veteran midfielder returned to the starting lineup on Friday in a scoreless draw with Osasuna. Guardado played 78 minutes and picked up a yellow card.

Diego Lainez, Real Betis — The 19-year-old make the 18, but didn’t take the field against Osasuna.

Nestor Araujo, Celta Vigo — Araujo started and went the full 90 against his international teammate Herrera and Atletico Madrid in a scoreless draw. Araujo shut down an offense that includes Joao Felix, Diego Costa, Angel Correa and Alvaro Morata.

Eredivisie

Erick Gutierrez, PSV Eindhoven — Gutierrez made his return to the PSV gameday squad on Sunday for De Topper against Ajax. However, he didn’t make it off the bench.

Edson Alvarez, Ajax — Alvarez started and played the full 90 minutes in the 1-1 draw at PSV.

Primeira Liga

Jesus “Tecatito” Corona, FC Porto — Starting at right back again, Tecatito went 76 minutes and picked up a yellow card in Porto’s 2-0 win over Santa Clara.

Jupiler Pro League

Omar Govea, Zulte Waregem — Govea made the gameday squad but didn’t appear in Zulte’s 2-2 draw with Genk.

Elsewhere around the globe:

Hector Moreno, Al Gharafa   On Thursday, Moreno started and played 81 minutes in Al Gharafa’s 3-1 win over Al Ahli.

Juan Gerardo Ramirez Alosno, Roda JC — The 21-year-old fullback was left on the bench in Roda’s 3-1 defeat to Utrecht II on Friday.

Carlos Fierro, San Jose Earthquakes – Dressed but didn’t play in the Quakes’ 3-1 loss to Atlanta United.

Carlos Vela, LAFC – Vela scored a penalty kick goal to help save a point for LAFC against Toronto FC in a 1-1 draw.

Jonathan Dos Santos, LA Galaxy – Dos Santos started and went the full 90 minutes, picking up a yellow card, as the Galaxy beat the Montreal Impact, 2-1.

Uriel Antuna, LA Galaxy – Antuna started and scored the game-winning goal for the Galaxy off an assist from Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the Galaxy’s 2-1 win over the Montreal Impact.

Americans Abroad: Weekend Roundup

Getty Images
Leave a comment

One of the youngest Americans playing abroad had arguably the biggest weekend of any of his USMNT-eligible teammates.

Playing in his first derby for Ajax against PSV in league play, Dest started and set up teammate Dusan Tadic for a goal. Interestingly, with the Netherlands FA working to get Dest to commit to the Oranje moving forward, Dest had the chance to match up against Denzel Dumfries, the current first choice right back for the Netherlands.

The other big story? Christian Pulisic didn’t play again. More on that below.

Here is a list of several other USMNT affiliates making a name for themselves (or not) abroad this weekend.

Premier League

Christian Pulisic, Chelsea — Pulisic made the bench but didn’t appear for a third-straight match. Lampard explained to our own JPW why Pulisic has been on the sidelines.

DeAndre Yedlin, Newcastle — The fullback returned to training following a serious groin injury. There’s no timeline on his return yet, however.

EFL Championship

Antonee Robinson, Wigan Athletic — Robinson is a fixture at Wigan. The young left back started and played the full 90 minutes as Wigan picked up a win over a top-ten opponent, Charlton Athletic

Matt Miazga, Reading (loan from Chelsea) — The 24-year-old is out with a hamstring injury. There’s no timeline on his return.

Eric Lichaj, Hull City — The Tigers captain started and played the full 90 minutes in Hull City’s 3-0 win over Luton Town.

Geoff Cameron, QPR — The 34-year-old defender started at centerback and went the full 90, picking up a yellow card in QPR’s 2-1 win over Millwall.

Tim Ream, Fulham — Ream started and played 90 minutes in Fulham’s 1-1 draw at Sheffield Wednesday.

Cameron Carter-Vickers, Stoke City (loan Tottenham Hotspur) — Carter-Vickers started and went the full 90 minutes as Stoke City picked up just its second point of the season in a scoreless draw with Brentford.

Duane Holmes, Derby County — Holmes made his second-straight start after coming back from injury, and his first 90 minutes on the pitch as Derby County secured a last-gasp 1-1 draw with league-leading Leeds United.

EFL League One

Lynden Gooch, Sunderland – Gooch started and played the full 90 minutes, though Sunderland needed a last-minute goal from Aiden McGeady to draw at Bolton. .

Bundesliga

Weston McKennie, Schalke —  McKennie started, picked up a yellow card in the second half and then was substituted in the 76th minute, before Schalke scored a late winner in a 2-1 victory over Mainz.

Zack Steffen and Alfredo Morales, Fortuna Dusseldorf — Steffen started and played all 90 minutes in Fortuna Dusseldorf’s 2-1 defeat to rivals Borussia Monchengladbach. Steffen recorded a handful of incredible, point-blank saves to keep Fortuna in the game. Morales did not dress again.

Josh Sargent, Werder Bremen  With an injury crisis, Sargent got the start and played 80 minutes. Unfortunately for Sargent and Werder, they were routed by Leipzig – even without Tyler Adams.

Tyler Adams, RB Leipzig — Adams remains inactive with a groin injury. There’s no timeline on his return.

Fabian Johnson, Borussia Mönchengladbach Johnson didn’t make Borussia Monchengladbach’s 18 for their match against Fortuna Dusseldorf.

Timmy Chandler, Eintracht Frankfurt — The veteran defender entered off the bench in the 83rd minute as Eintracht secured a massive 2-2 draw with Borussia Dortmund.

Julian Green, Greuther Furth – The 24-year-old midfielder started and played the full 90 minutes for Greuther Furth. Unfortunately, they lost 2-0 to league-leading Stuttgart in the 2. Bundesliga.

Eredivisie

Sergino Dest, Ajax — Dest started at right back in his first edition of “De Topper,” starring as Ajax drew 1-1 at PSV Eindhoven. Dest played the full 90 minutes and had an assist on Dusan Tadic’s goal.

Haji Wright, VVV-Venlo — The 21-year-old striker came off the bench in the 71st minute of VVV’s 1-0 loss to Willen II.

Desevio Payne, FC Emmen — The U-23 MNT fullback was left out of FC Emmen’s 18 once again. 

Ligue 1

Timothy Weah, Lille — Weah remains sidelined with a muscular injury. There’s no timeline on his return.

Theoson Jordan-Siebatcheu, Rennes — Siebatcheu made the 18 but did not feature in Rennes 1-1 draw with Lille.

Honorable Mentions:

Chris Richards, Bayern Munich II – The young Alabama native started and played the full 90 minutes as FC Bayern II defeated FC Ingolstadt, which was in the 2. Bundesliga just last season.

Andrija Novakovich, Frosinone – The 23-year-old striker, now in Serie B after five seasons on the books with Reading, made his first start for Frosinone, going 55 minutes in a 1-1 draw with Venezia.

Giovanni Reyna, Borussia Dortmund U-19 – Reyna started, scored, and played 77 minutes in Dortmund U-19s 6-1 win over Leverkusen. The 16-year-old attacker also scored earlier in the week in a 2-1 win over Barcelona U-19s in the UEFA Youth League.

Luca De La Torre, Fulham Reserves – Luca de la Torre is still stuck at Spurs without getting first team minutes, but he had a night to remember in the PL2. The 21-year-old midfielder scored the first, and game-winning-goal in a 90-minute performance as Fulham beat Reading U-23s, 5-4.