UEFA Champions League: Juventus and Roma Put Off to Return Match

After the unbelievable missed qualification of the National Team to the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, a very bitter year could be expecting Italian football.

Not so good. After the UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg, Italian sides Juventus and AS Roma are already forced to win the return matches, due to the negative results obtained respectively against Tottenham and Shakthar Donetsk.

Juventus

Juventus, undisputed queen of Italian football during the last six years and runners-up of the last edition, played Tottenham in Turin. The Spurs are in great shape and came to Piedmont as winners of their group before the likes of Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund. After a resonant beginning of the match, with Gonzalo Higuain scoring two goals within minutes, Juventus took a 2-0 lead. Then, Tottenham reorganized their ball possession and shortened the gap with Harry Kane scoring the 2-1. With few minutes left on the clock before the end of the first half, Higuain had the opportunity to score his personal hat-trick with a penalty kick, but he missed it hitting the crossbar. After the break, Tottenham equalized with a free kick by Christian Eriksen, compelling Juventus to win the second match at Wembley Stadium on March 7.

AS Roma

The case of Roma is quite different. The giallorossi played the first leg in Ukraine against Shakthar Donetsk, club that had already kicked out them in 2010/11 round of 16. The team coached by Eusebio Di Francesco scored the opener with their player of the moment, the Turkish youngster Cengiz Ünder, who vaguely resembles Lionel Messi. Despite the disadvantage, Shakthar did not disunite and continued to play great football. In the second half, they overturned the table with the strikes by Ferreyra and Rodigrues Santos. The Ukranians were close to score the third goal with several chances, but Alisson, outstanding in the Roma goal, skilfully prevented it. The final 2-1 forces Roma to win at least 1-0 in the return game at the Stadio Olimpico on March 13.

Allegri and Di Francesco

After the matches, both the Italian coaches were dissatisfied with the results. However, Massimiliano Allegri (Juventus) did not accept criticism from the press and the fans: ‘We did the best today, but we cannot get into the Champions League final every year. We are going to London to play our chances, as we have lots of them’.

Instead, Roma coach Di Francesco declared to the press he could not understand the approach of his players after the break: ‘I have seen a team with two faces, trying to score in the first half and trying to manage I don’t know what during the second. We made silly rookie mistakes’.

After the unbelievable missed qualification of the National Team to the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, a very bitter year could be expecting Italian football.