Juventus-Bordeaux: Bianconeri Fail to Impress in Champions League Opener

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Juventus-Bordeaux: Bianconeri Fail to Impress in Champions League Opener
(Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)

A new season of Champions League brought a new set of expectations for Italy's Old Lady.

With Juventus opening their Champions League campaign against French champion Bordeaux at home in Turin, claiming three points and getting to the top of the group was expected. However, that didn't happen as Juve and Bordeaux shared the points after a 1-1 ddraw at a rain-drenched Stadio Olimpico.

Juve manager Ciro Ferrara didn't have some of his best players to chose from as Diego and Alessandro Del Piero were both out injured and Girogio Chiellini was out suspended after he was sent off last year in the second leg of the round of 16 against Chelsea.

The same wasn't the same for Bordeaux manager Laurent Blanc, who was able to field his regular Starting XI against his former Napoli teammate.

The visitors were the first to get a genuine scoring opportunity when Fernando put the moves on the Juve defense. If not for Gianluigi Buffon making the first of many crucial saves, this one from close range, Bordeaux would've had the early lead on the road.

As Juve struggled to get any kind of offense going, Bordeaux established themselves as the better side on the night—especially in the midfield. Juve could hardly get a quality amount of possession going. Midfielder Claudio Marchisio had the only chance early for the Bianconieri, but his rocket of a shot went well over the goal.

With the first half going on, Juve continued to struggle to get any creativity going on the sloppy pitch. Sebastian Giovinco, who was filling in for Diego as Juve's trequarista, didn't have much space to move with Bordeaux's five-man midfield bunching things up.

Giovinco and Amauri also had chances in the first half, but after the first 45 minutes, the French champions were clearly playing better. They were generating chances, even though nothing really materialized other than Fernando's run in the opening minutes.

The second half was a different story in terms of generating chances for the Bianconeri, although it was Bordeaux who had the first chance of the second half. It was Gourcuff again causing the trouble but Nicola Legrottaglie, who was filling in for Chiellini, made a great block before it got to Buffon.

It was Gourcuff v. Buffon again minutes later as the talented 22-year-old sprung the offsides trap and went head-to-head with the world's best goalkeeper. And like every time before when a Bordeaux player went up against him, it was Buffon coming out on top after making another fantastic one-on-one save.

Vincenzo Iaquinta had a great chance to open the scoring not once, but twice in a matter of moments. First came when Iaquinta was upended by an onrushing Cédric Carrasso and then seconds later when the Italian striker was on the touchline and couldn't bend the ball in.

The Bordeaux keeper picked up a knock during the sequence with Iaquinta and had to be taken off. His replacement, Rame', was called into action right after coming on when had had to perry away a Fabio Grosso free kick blast. Minutes later, Iaquinta had another chance to score, but was called offside.

Then, Iaquinta finally found the back of the net in the 63rd minute. After Felipe Melo won the ball, defender Fabio Cannavaro fed a through ball to Iaquinta who buried it in the back of the net after he beat the keeper at the near post.

It was a crucial goal, especially considering how inconsistent Juve were on the night.

Just moments after Juve went ahead, Fernando again had a great chance to score, but like the chance in the third minute of the game, Buffon was up to the task. Amauri responded with a chance of his own with a header off a corner kick that forced an ad-lib save out of Rame'.

When Cannavaro had to go off because of a leg injury, there were doubts running through people's head whether Juve could hold on to the lead with a central combination of Legrottaglie and Martin Ceceras—something that hasn't been seen in a game this season, or even pre-season.

Twelve minutes after Iaquinta opened the scoring, Bordeaux leveled it. With Gourcuff taking a free kick just outside the box, he sent it in and found Jaroslav Plasil. Although after the replays were shown, there was suspicion and calls for offside.

Bordeux could've gone ahead when Buffon had to come out after a poor backpass by Caceres. But other than that instance, it was Juve who had the best chances to go ahead in the closing minutes.

Juve had a chance to win it in the final moments but Marchisio banged a Caceres cross off the crossbar. Dane Christian Poulsen, who came on for Tiago with 10 minutes to go, had a chance to put the rebound away but he blasted the ball over the goal.

The final whistle blew, leaving the score even at one. For the team that was favored to win the group, it was a unlucky night. For Bordeaux, it was a crucial point away from home.

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