Atlético Madrid – Juventus: Atlético Reminds Us They Are A European Giant (2-0)
Atlético deservedly won the first leg of their tie against Juventus by following the classic Simeone playbook: outstanding defensive organization, good attacking transitions, and a decisive set-piece game. Juventus did not create scoring chances and Allegri and his players did not react well - both tactically and emotionally - to Atlético’s superiority.
Tactical analysis and match report by José Pérez.
The Atlético of Diego Simeone still possess the best defense in LaLiga, but their defensive block is not as impenetrable as it used to be, as goalkeeper Jan Oblak must often work miracles to protect his goal. However, the biggest disappointment is the unproductive offense, whose underlying numbers are just eleventh in the league.
Star forward Antoine Griezmann has been forced to carry his team’s attack, assisting and scoring almost half of Atlético’s shots and goals. Fortunately for Atlético, Champions League knockouts sometimes seem like an entirely different sport to league football, one that favors their tremendous experience, competitive spirit and clutch performances.
On the other hand, Massimiliano Allegri successfully rebuilt Juventus’s game around new star signing Cristiano Ronaldo, a complex task that his outstanding management made look easy. Juventus are now a team who maintain their reactive football identity and excellent handling of game states while still allowing Ronaldo to produce more than one goal / assist per game. Their offense has never been more productive and that allows Juventus to dominate Italy in an authoritarian fashion, with a 13-point lead over runner-up Napoli. However, the . . .