Pogba on half-serve remains crucial for the Bianconeri: in attack for about ten minutes and then gathered at the back, all lower than the line of the ball, leaving Vlahovic alone and unable to help each other
It’s not the ’90s night out we dreamed of, but all is not lost. The three Italians are all in full swing for the finals of the European Championship and Conference League. A win (Roma), a draw (Juve) and a loss (Fiorentina): playing at home all the time isn’t exactly ideal, but the new rule no longer multiplies the value of away goals. The next ninety minutes will be scary, but a different attitude will be required. Especially the black and white ones.
Gatti’s last goal, irretrievable, unimaginable, literally pulled Juve out of the abyss of a defeat that would have hurt. Fairly even, but the Bianconeri’s first half was unacceptable. No longer. In attack for about ten minutes and then gathered behind him, all lower than the line of the ball, leaving Vlahovic alone and unable to help each other. The team split into two parts. You could see Juve in tears: two beautiful verticals by Di Maria and Kostic, two restarts by Rabiot but zero overall. The pleasure of seeing Vlahovic right in front of goal while waiting for a cross, in an area packed with blacks and whites, still put him off.
The slap from En-Nesyri’s goal was needed to change the system and mentality: when you have Chiesa, Di Maria, Vlahovic and Iling, it’s not clear why you let them play later to recover and not beforehand to prevail. Not that we’ve suddenly seen City or Real Madrid field at least three strikers (oh yes), but at least Sevilla have been forced to defend. The good news came from the changes: Iling made a lot of mistakes, but protracted and created situations. Pogba at half-serve but decisive made it clear how much Juve have lost without him. And finally, Gatti showed that proletarian humility and courage that deserves more jerseys. It won’t be easy in Seville, but based on a 1-1 draw it won’t be impossible either. Sevilla are a good team, in fact “more” Juve team than the plans and psychology cannot give them the famous courage of Don Abbondio in May, but they have an undeniable superior quality. Let’s see if he can express it fully one day.
A few alibis still need to be recognized in Rome. Taking Leao away from Milan is a problem for the potential chances that disappear, the easy exits, the personality in those legs-shaking moments. Dybala is Mourinho’s Leao and a final quarter of an hour can’t change a game. The goal is to win the Argentine back for Leverkusen and enjoy young Bove, who scored a goal that even he doesn’t realize the importance of: power, substitution and very quick reaction times to the goalkeeper’s rebound, an experienced personality. How well. Luckily, Leverkusen twice excused Rui Patricio early on, sparing a dangerous comeback that would have exposed them to a counterattack. Xabi Alonso has given his head and geometries, but there are no champions. On the return, Roma could be lighter and more ‘dybal’ on the counterattack. It’s important not to barricade yourself. A matter of habit, too: Mou has won five European finals and when he does reach the pinnacle – apart from the Real Madrid-Barcelona epic in the Champions League – he rarely fails.
Finally, there remains the disappointment of the heavy blow inflicted on Fiorentina, who played confused, pressed and attacked: to be overtaken by Cabral after another goal at home requires some thought. Now calm down. Basel are tough, they surprised their own fans but winning back a goal is more than doable. And by all means: leaving aside the Milan-Inter derby, far from decided, the other five semi-finals have been played, including West Ham-Alkmaar 2-1. At this point there could be elimination, after all we are in the semifinals, but no regrets for wasting time and chances. We would never forgive ourselves for that.
May 12, 2023 (Modification May 12, 2023 | 00:54)
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