Ten Man Juventus Beat Valencia Away

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By Webmaster January 28, 2019 09:45

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Ten Man Juventus Beat Valencia Away

By Satish Sekar at Valencia’s Estadio Mestalla ©Satish Sekar (September 19th 2018)

Just Deserts

Juventus moved into the Cristiano Ronaldo era in style with a 2-0 victory against Valencia in their Group D opener, despite having to play most of the match without their record signing. Bosnia and Herzegovina international midfielder, Miralem Pjanić scored both from the penalty spot – the first as the first half was ending, and the second six minutes after the break. Both came after Juve had been reduced to ten men.

Despite the frankly ludicrous sending off of Cristiano Ronaldo in his bow for Juventus after his summer move from European champions Real Madrid, the Old Lady proved that they will be a force to be reckoned with this season.
“Playing here was not easy because Valencia attack with this stadium supporting them from the first to the last minute,” Juventus’ coach Massimiliano Allegri told journalists.

“I think the lads did very well tonight, especially because they played good football when we had to do that. We all pulled together as a team when it was the moment to defend these three points.”

Three Spot Kicks and a Red Card

It was a tale of three penalties and a travesty of a red card. Juventus took their chances from the spot – Valencia did not. Los Ches’ skipper Dani Parejo Muñoz had a night to forget – rapidly – as he conceded the first penalty that Pjanić converted. Parejo was yellow carded by referee Felix Brych for the foul on João Cancelo.

Pjanić beat former team-mate, Norberto Murara Neto to the keeper’s left. Six minutes after the restart, Pjanić stepped up to the spot again, this time to heap further punishment on Jeison Murilla. The Colombian defender – the villain of the Ronaldo sending off – was yellow carded for shoving Leonardo Bonucci in the back. Pjanić chose the same corner with the same result.

Douglas Costa replaced Pjanić after 67 minutes. Parejo had the opportunity to make amends, and give Valencia a late opportunity for consolation after substitute Daniele Rugani was penalised for a bad foul on former Arsenal defender Gabriel Paulista.

With a minute left Parejo’s misery was completed as his tame penalty was saved by Wojciech Szczeşny to his right. It was a miserable night for Valencia, when the high point was an appalling officiating decision that ruined Ronaldo’s debut.

Controversy

“We were playing very well until Ronaldo’s sending off, but we continued to play our football despite that blow and deservedly scored two goals,” Allegri said.

The sending off was dubious to put it mildly. After consulting his assistant referee, Felix Brych, brandished a red card. Ronaldo and his team-mates could not believe it.

A shameful piece of play-acting by Colombian defender Jeison Murilla could have ruined the match. The replays showed that after a tussle, Murilla went down easily. Ronaldo patted his head – interpreted as hair-pulling.
Despite the absurdity of this decision – one that hopefully Brych and the assessor of the officials will review – Ronaldo had to go. He departed in tears.

His new team-mates dug in inspired defensively by the immense Giorgio Chiellini. But before Ronaldo’s departure Juve had created the better chances. Mario Mandžukić shot over from close range. Ronaldo shot wide and João Cancelo’s effort was tipped onto the bar by Neto, but Sami Khedira’s miss is the sort nightmares are made of. The World Cup-winning midfielder will know how he failed to score with the goal beckoning.

Shortly afterwards Murilla headed wide from Parejo’s cross. Three minutes later Khedira had to go off injured, replaced by Emre Can.

Five minutes before Parejo conceded the penalty, Michy Batshuayi, on loan from Chelsea, shot from a tight angle on the right. Szczeşny dealt with it. Three minutes into the second half José Gayá Peña’s cross should have resulted in the equaliser, but Rodrigo Moreno Machado’s header was too close to Szczeşny.

With 25 minutes remaining Parejo set up Carlos Soler Barragán, but his shot from outside the area was saved by Szczeşny to his left. The Polish keeper denied Soler again 7 minutes later. And after 79 minutes Szczeşny made it a hat-trick of thwarting Soler. With a minute of normal time remaining the substitute Douglas Costa could not continue and had to be replaced by Rugani.

It’s early days, but Juventus look to be formidable opponents with or without Ronaldo, whose red card should surely be overturned on appeal.

Webmaster
By Webmaster January 28, 2019 09:45