Juventus crashed out of the UEFA Champions League as they were beaten 2-1 by Dutch giants AFC Ajax in the quarter-final second leg at home on Tuesday night.
Juventus had the slightest of the advantages coming into the game, with the first leg in Amsterdam ending in a 1-1 draw. And after a dull start to the contest at Allianz Stadium on Tuesday, the Italian champions made it 1-0 in the 28th minute, when Cristiano Ronaldo’s header from a Miralem Pjanic cross survived the VAR review.
Ajax were not to be dissuaded though as they reacted strongly to conceding, with midfielder Donny van de Beek equalizing for the Dutch heavyweights with a composed finish six minutes later. Post the half-time break, the visitors dominated the proceedings and were rewarded for it as captain Matthijs de Ligt rose highest to nod home Lasse Schone’s corner to make it 2-1.
Juventus tried hard to fight their way back into the tie, but Ajax held firm to oust another tournament favourites, after having sent Real Madrid packing in the last round. It was a disappointing night for Massimiliano Allegri’s side and here’s how we rated the performances of the Juventus stars in the defeat;
Wojciech Szczesny: 7/10
The Polish goalkeeper had little chance of stopping both of Ajax’s goals. But in between the two goals, Szczesny produced a couple of scintillating stops to deny Hakim Ziyech and Donny van de Beek to keep Juventus in the game.
Mattia De Sciglio: 5/10
Handed a start ahead of Joao Cancelo, rather surprisingly, the Italian failed to make the most of the opportunity. Was slow to react in the lead-up to Ajax’s first goal, while he failed to offer much going forward either. There were a couple of strong challenges on David Neres, but it was a disappointing outing overall and was subbed off for Cancelo in the second half.
Leonardo Bonucci: 5/10
The most experienced defender in the Juventus backline had a relatively solid first half, although he could have shown faster reactions leading to the first goal for the visitors. After the break though, Bonucci lacked his usual composure and found it difficult to deal with Ajax as they turned on the heat.
Daniele Rugani: 5/10
Starting in the absence of the experienced Giorgio Chiellini, the Italian international was nowhere near as solid as he can be. Looked dazed each time Ajax came at the hosts and was lacking awareness. Should have gotten tighter to De Ligt in the lead-up to the winning goal. Juventus missed Chiellini big time on the night.
Alex Sandro: 6.5/10
Without a doubt, Juventus most impressive defender on the night. The Brazilian full-back defended resolutely for most parts, making the most number of tackles on the night and was a decent outlet going forward as well. However, did not deliver enough dangerous crosses for Ronaldo or Kean to feed on.
Emre Can: 5/10
Thrust back into action after his return from injury, the German international started off positively showing great energy. Worked hard to try and make things happen, but often let down by the final ball in the attacking third. Faded after the break and booked for a poor challenge on Ziyech.
Miralem Pjanic: 7/10
One of the few Juventus players’ who could walk off the pitch with his head held high. Showed his class with some scintillating passes forward and set Ronaldo’s goal up with a sensational cross. Came up with a vital clearance denying a certain goal, with the game still at 1-1.
Blaise Matuidi: 6/10
The Frenchman was among the few Juventus players who looked to be able to match Ajax’s energy levels. Started off positively with a few driving runs forward, but began to struggle as the visitors amped up the pressure after the break.
Federico Bernardeschi: 4/10
Having been one of the key figures in Juventus’ comeback against Atletico Madrid in the last game, a lot was expected of him, but he never really got into the game. Did not get on the ball enough and when he did, failed to find his attacking partners in dangerous positions. A forgettable outing for the Juventus forward.
Paulo Dybala: 4/10
Handed the captain’s armband by Allegri, the Argentine forward failed to lead the side by example. Showed a couple of neat touches and good footwork, but never really threatened the Ajax defence. Lack of impact led to substitution at half-time. Much more is expected of Dybala at this level.
Cristiano Ronaldo: 6.5/10
Looked to be Juventus’ saviour once again as he headed home the opening goal in the first period – his 126th goal in the Champions League. However, the Portuguese maverick struggled to get into the game after that. Had a few half-chances after the break, but could not get his side back into it. Misses out on the Champions League semi-final for the first time since 2009-10.
Moise Kean: 5/10
Half-time substitute for Dybala. A bold decision by the manager, but that failed to pay off. The Italian international had a couple of decent opportunities to score after coming on but failed to take them.
Joao Cancelo: 6/10
Came on for De Sciglio a little after the hour mark, having surprisingly not made it to the starting XI. Added some spark down the right flank, but couldn’t inspire a comeback.
Rodrigo Bentancur: N/A
Replaced Bernardeschi for the last ten minutes. An odd substitution, taking off a winger for a central midfielder with Juventus chasing the game.