Juventus – a club with a great history and every year they remain one of the favourites to lift the trophy of the UEFA Champions League. And when the best player in the world of this era – Cristiano Ronaldo – joined them last summer, the Juve fans started to dream big. With someone like Cristiano around, one can expect to conquer Europe and beyond. So, obviously, against Lyon at the Groupama Stadium, Cristiano and co would start as the favourites and earn an important away victory before the game at Turin.
A surprise lead. Spirited display. Lyon shock Juventus. Cristiano Ronaldo was dull. The young Brazilian had a great night only in his second outing for Lyon. Celebration time for the French side. #UCL pic.twitter.com/FzXObmhWIf
— Faisal Caesar (@faisalyorker1) February 26, 2020
But football is a strange game. While Pep Guardiola and co shocked Real Madrid at home, Lyon stunned Juventus to take the upper hand. Lucas Tousart scored the only goal as Lyon secured a slender 1-0 win over Juventus in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 clash.
As a matter of fact, Juventus were very poor throughout the match. They moved the ball slowly and allowed the opposition to win the ball back advance forward. This slow passing opened the opportunity for the opening goal. The aggression was lacking big time, while defensively Juve lacked the cutting edge.
Lyon take the lead on Juve at the Parc Olympique Lyonnais through Lucas Tousart ? pic.twitter.com/zwWyn8HDLl
— beIN SPORTS USA (@beINSPORTSUSA) February 26, 2020
Cristiano Ronaldo was unsurprisingly Juve’s biggest threat throughout, the Portuguese superstar clipping narrowly wide in the opening period, while Paulo Dybala had a goal ruled out for offside three minutes from time.
Juventus as a team have scored 5 UCL Knockout goals ever since Cristiano Ronaldo’s arrival.
All 5 were scored by Ronaldo. ? pic.twitter.com/RSuIRerh3s
— Hass™ (@GoatCF) February 26, 2020
But nothing could take away the spirited display from Lyon. The under-fire Lyon boss Rudi Garcia’s boys did a great job in securing the lead until the final whistle. It was a robust defensive display where the backline and midfield of Lyon played a vital role.
One of the midfielders who impressed for Lyon was a young Brazilian named Bruno Guimaraes. In comparison to his teammates, Bruno completed most passes, most tackles, most interceptions, second-most touches, second-most dribbles, second-best pass completion, and third-most ball recoveries.
??Felicidade imensa e um prazer incrível fazer minha estreia. Vamos por mais! É apenas o começo.
?? Un immense bonheur et un plaisir incroyable que de faire mes débuts. C'est parti pour plus! Ce n'est que le début. ??? pic.twitter.com/mdPZGDAQDY
— Bruno Guimarães (@brunoog97) February 21, 2020
His performance just in his second match for Lyon and that too in the Champions League earned huge praise from the Lyon Sporting director Jininho who said, “Bruno is a player who has been thoroughly educated. That is rare in Brazil, but we came across a team that trains its players well”.
Bruno Guimarães' game by numbers vs. Juventus:
96% pass accuracy (opp. half)
87.5% duels contested
86% pass accuracy
42 passes completed
2 take ons
1 shot on target
Some Champions League debut. ? pic.twitter.com/3sJmK7X1rd
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) February 26, 2020
“He is a player with great humility, who always wants to learn. We see that he has the ability to see situations before they arise”.
“He really is a very, very good player. He has all the qualities to become a great, great player. Today, national team members were here. I think he will be called for Brazil’s first team soon”.
But the result is shocking for Juventus. The defeat marked the very first time that Lyon have beaten Juventus in European competition having lost three of their previous four such encounters and managing just a single draw. In fact, not since November 2009 had Juve lost against French opposition in the Champions League, with the last such setback coming in a 2-0 defeat against Bordeaux in the group stages. It is also the first time the French outfit have come out on the winning side in a Champions League knockout tie since February 2012, when they prevailed 1-0 over APOEL Nicosia.
Again, Juve failed to test the opposition goalkeeper for the first time in over five years not since October 2014, against Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid, had the club gone an entire Champions League game without a shot on target. Then, Juventus have conceded in seven consecutive away games in all competitions, their longest such run without a clean sheet in a single season since May 2010, when they were scored upon for 18 straight matches – the backline does not look good as well.
Sarri and Juventus have a lot to ponder before the clash against Lyon at Turin.