By 90Min
February 20, 2019

Atletico Madrid beat Juventus 2-0 thanks to two late goals in the first leg of their round of 16 tie in the Champions League, despite having a goal ruled out by VAR.

Jose Maria Gimenez broke the deadlock with 12 minutes to go, as he was quickest to react to a second ball in the penalty area, firing past Wojiech Szczesny. Gimenez's centre-half partner Diego Godin was also on the scoresheet, doubling his side's lead when his strike deflected in off the hapless Cristiano Ronaldo. 

Having been introduced for the knockout stages of the Champions League, VAR was a major factor in the match. Atletico thought they had a penalty midway through the first half, but the video replay showed that Mattia De Sciglio fouled Diego Costa outside of the penalty area. 

Atletico then had a goal disallowed after Alvaro Morata, who looked to have given the hosts the lead with a towering header, was adjudged to have pushed Giorgio Chiellini in the back. However, it did not prove to be a pivotal moment thanks to Los Rojiblancos striking twice in the closing stages. 

Check out our breakdown of the game below.


Key Talking Point 

The match lived up to its prediction of being a tight, tense affair, owing to the two sides' stellar defensive records. Despite being the home side, Atletico were happy to keep men behind the ball, daring Juventus to try and play through them.

That was only half the story however, with the script of the game changing entirely after the break - with the hosts smelling blood from a Juventus side who looked under-cooked and were under-par on the night. 

Though Atletico appeared to have been hard done by, VAR ultimately did little to alter the course of the game. Diego Simeone's men were rampant and fully deserving of taking a 2-0 lead to Turin for the second leg of the tie, their 13th consecutive home victory in the Champions League.

Player Ratings 

Starting XI: Oblak (7); Juanfran (7), Godin (8), Gimenez (9*), Filipe Luis (7); Saul (6), Partey (6), Rodri (8), Koke (6); Griezmann (6), Diego Costa (5). 

Substitutes: Morata (7), Lemar (7), Correa (6).

Star Man 

No player's performance merited a goal more than that of Jose Maria Gimenez, who was rock-solid at the back for Los Rojiblancos, barely giving the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Paulo Dybala a sniff of a chance.

Despite his heroics in defence, it is Gimenez's contribution in attack that was the most telling against Juventus as he showed the reactions a seasoned striker to lash the ball home to hand first blood in the tie to Atletico.


Key Talking Point 

With Juventus unbeaten in Serie A so far in 2018/19, manager Massimiliano Allegri said before the game that his side would not play for a draw. His players echoed these sentiments, enjoying superior possession to their opponents in the first half. 

However, the visitors uncharacteristically crumbled in the closing stages, allowing Atletico to take a huge step towards qualification for the quarter-finals through the concession of two soft goals. 

To concede in this manner will annoy Allegri, given that the backbone of Juventus for almost a decade has been a defence that has been notably stout and stubborn, particularly in European competition. 

Player Ratings

Starting XI: Szczesny (7); De Sciglio (6), Bonucci (6), Chiellini (8*), Alex Sandro (7); Bentancur (6), Pjanic (7), Matuidi (6); Dybala (7), Mandzukic (6), Cristiano Ronaldo (6). 

Substitutes: Can (6), Bernardeschi (6), Cancelo (6).

Star Man 

In a contest that cried out for some goalmouth action until the latter stages, Giorgio Chiellini demonstrated again why he is still, at the age of 34, one of the most consistent, reliable defenders in the world. 

Up against a man who is not shy of a tussle in Diego Costa, Chiellini extinguished the fiery effectiveness of the former Chelsea striker with ease until Costa was withdrawn by Simeone after missing a golden opportunity. 

Chiellini exhibited his considerable experience when he went over following contact from Morata before the latter's thumping header. It could be argued that a centre-back less savvy and battle-hardened as Chiellini would not have gone to ground under such a challenge, that came at such a crucial moment in the tie.

Looking Ahead 

Atletico host Villarreal in La Liga on Sunday, with kick off at 15:15 GMT. Juventus also play on Sunday, as they travel to Bologna in Serie A at 14:00 GMT.

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