UEFA Champions League Review: Juventus Make a Statement Against Nordsjælland
Following a disastrous end to Juventus' 49-match unbeaten streak at the hands of Inter Milan in the Derby d'Italia, Juventus were under pressure to make a statement to their opposition and make a statement they did. Debut Champions League goals to both Claudio Marchisio and Sebastian Giovinco ensured the Bianconeri kept the pressure on both Chelsea and Shakthar Donetsk.
Juventus came out of the blocks firing against the Danes and after Kwadwo Asamoah made his early intentions clear by marauding down the left-hand side of the field, it was only a matter of time before Juventus would indeed break the deadlock.
They did so just a minute later when Andrea Pirlo received the ball in the middle of the FC Nordsjælland half. After spreading the ball right to Isla on the wing, it was left to the Chilean to tee up Marchisio with a cross driven across the floor of the Nordsjælland penalty area. A simple tap in by the Italian set the scene for what was going to be an impressive Juventus display.
Pirlo, Marchisio and Vidal were pulling all the strings for the home side, releasing both Isla and Asamoah more times than one could keep track of. Giovinco was also getting in on the action almost setting up Vidal after a neat little cutback following some fancy footwork on the left by-line.
Vidal was left to right his wrongs just minutes later when he pounced on a poor touch from Nordsjælland defender Kasper Lorentzen, practically slide tacking the ball into the net to catch Hansen by complete surprise. Juventus were up 2-0 after just 22 minutes.
If FC Nordsjælland thought that Juventus' second goal would bring about a let-up in pressure, they were most certainly wrong. The Bianconeri had a point to prove and Marchisio made his intentions clear when he rifled a half volley at Hansen whose last ditch parry temporarily relieved pressure for his side.
They wouldn't be shut out for much longer though, as Sebastian Giovinco capitalised on a Juventus counter. The Atomic Ant latched onto a Pirlo pass and after jinking and jerking on the edge of the penalty area, he finished brilliantly into the far corner of the net leaving Hansen planted to the ground. The Juventus stadium was in raptures, up 3-0 prior to halftime.
Halftime couldn't arrive soon enough for Nordsjælland, who by this point still hadn't registered against the resolute Juventus back three. They would be made to wait a little longer to register their first chance. Defender Patrick Mtiliga fired a half volley from distance at Buffon who tapped the ball away to safety after it received a deflection on the way to goal.
The introduction of Paul Pogba and Fabio Quagliarella early into the second half marked Juventus' intentions to keep pushing forward. After Pirlo and Pogba constructed a move to win a corner, Fabio Quagliarella stepped up and headed the ball home after a touch at the near post by Alessandro Matri. Four goals to the good, job done in Turin.
To their credit FC Nordsjælland continued to push forward despite the result being well out of reach. A corner late on was almost unexpectedly finished by Jores Okore who ghosted in on the back post unmarked. Gianluigi Buffon was having none of it making his players aware of his thoughts determined to keep a clean-sheet.
The full-time whistle was met with a collective sigh of relief in Turin as Juventus finally returned to the winners' circle in Europe. The result ensures that Juventus remain one point behind Chelsea in the group. The Blues left it late to steal victory 3-2 against Shakthar Donetsk and will travel to Turin in their next group stage fixture. For now, it is safe to say Juventus are back in Europe.
Full Time: Juventus 4-0 FC Nordsjælland (Marchisio, Vidal, Giovinco, Quagliarella)
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