An uninspiring Juventus were defeated 2-1 in the UEFA Champions League by a plucky Benfica side that proved too hot to handle for the Bianconeri.

Benfica came back from behind to secure a 2-1 win at Juventus, with goals from Joao Mario and David Neres helping them maintain their perfect start in the UEFA Champions League Group H. Meanwhile, the underwhelming hosts are without a point from the first two rounds, thereby denting their prospects of progressing to the knockout stages of the competition.

The Bianconeri got off to the best possible start, with Leandro Paredes’s free-kick finding Arkadiusz Milik, who rose highest inside the box to head the ball into the bottom-left corner past Odysseas Vlachodimos. Juventus dominated much of the first half, but Mario levelled just before half-time from the spot after Fabio Miretti was penalised for catching Goncalo Ramos’s legs.

Thereafter, it was much the same for Juventus as it has been since the start of the season: a stale brand of football with clear-cut chances few and far between, mostly relying on set-pieces to create something. Things quickly went from bad to worse for the hosts, who shipped a second goal just ten minutes into the second half.

Benfica maintained their momentum before Neres fired home a volley after Rafa Silva’s initial effort had been parried into his path by Mattia Perin. Juventus tried to rally back in the second half, with Massimiliano Allegri making a flurry of substitutions and had a few good openings to salvage a point but to no avail as the Italians slumped to back-to-back defeats in the Champions League.

With the way Allegri’s side is performing, advancing to the knockout rounds appears to be a distant dream at the moment; even minnows Maccabi Haifa might prove to be a banana skin for Juventus. Nevertheless, The Hard Tackle will now run the rule over Allegri’s troops after another disappointing night at the Allianz Stadium.

Mattia Perin: 7/10

Perin was one of the very few Juventus players who could leave the pitch with some dignity intact after an embarrassing display in front of the home crowd. He had to make five saves, but he was let down by a porous midfield and defence in front of him. He could not have done much to stop Joao Mario’s penalty and parried a powerful Rafa Silva strike prior to the second Benfica goal. He made a flurry of saves to keep the scoreline respectable.

Gleison Bremer: 6/10

The Brazilian was one of the better defenders for Juventus and made several key interventions but was a lost cause on other occasions. He was dragged out of position far too often due to a non-existent midfield cover and full-backs not bothering to track back. Bremer failed to convert a late opportunity to equalise for the hosts when he found himself 1v1 with the opposition goalkeeper.

Leonardo Bonucci: 6/10

A mixed bag for the Juventus captain, who looked decent enough when called upon and produced a host of crucial blocks and interceptions to keep his side in the game. However, Bonucci’s lack of pace was evident and was exploited quite often by a buzzing Rafa Silva and Goncalo Ramos in the lead-up to the second goal, where the Italian international was one of the culprits.

Danilo: 5/10

Danilo started the game on a positive note up against a tricky customer in David Neres and kept his compatriot at arm’s length in the first half-hour or so, before completely losing control of his marker in the second half, allowing Neres acres of space to run riot.

Juan Cuadrado: 4/10

Another rough day in the office for the Colombian, who clearly needs a break. His decision-making and end product in the final third are lacking every time he steps onto the pitch this season. Here, he wasted possession with fruitless runs and poor crosses. He did not complete a successful dribble (0/3), created little, and was a very inconsistent threat before being substituted before the hour mark.

Weston McKennie: 5/10

The USMNT international gave his all on the pitch for the team’s cause, making two tackles, two interceptions, and one block during the game. He disrupted the play to some extent and tried to stop Benfica’s build-up with pressing. But he lacked quality on the ball, only completing 71% of his passes, and last possession a whopping 12 times.

Leandro Paredes: 7/10

Although it was not his best performance as he could not completely impose himself in the midfield, the Argentine was one of the better performers in a poor bunch. He assisted Milik with an excellent free-kick and distributed the ball well, even covering for defenders at times. In total, Paredes attempted 59 passes with 86% accuracy, completed four of his five long balls, played four key passes, made four tackles, and had two interceptions.

Fabio Miretti: 4/10

Miretti had a rare off day lately. To be fair, the youngster was having a decent game until he gave away a penalty and allowed Benfica a crucial way back into the game at half-time. Even so, he was left to defend all on his own and was a tad unlucky to catch Ramos’s leg.

Filip Kostic: 5/10

Kostic was nowhere near as good as he has been in all his other Juventus performances since his summer arrival. The Serbian winger got off to a good start to the game and almost doubled the Bianconeri’s lead. However, he faded as the game went on and was more involved in the defensive side of things, tied up by Alexander Bah.

Arkadiusz Milik: 6.5/10

The Polish international started where he left off against Salernitana on Sunday night, as he headed Paredes’s free-kick home early in the game. But unfortunately, he did not have many clear-cut chances in the match.

Milik came alive in the second half and tested Vlachodimos with another cheeky shot. He played until the 70th minute when he was subbed out for Nicolo Fagioli, which was baffling because Vlahovic was anonymous throughout.

Dusan Vlahovic: 4/10

The former Fiorentina striker is not having the best of times. He scarcely had a sniff of the goal and cut a frustrated figure throughout the game. He netted a goal with his body, but it was chalked off by a correct offside call. Over the last nine months since his big-money move, he has seen Juventus just continue to go on a downward spiral and hit new lows. He is so limited in this system, in which he sees so little of the ball.


Mattia De Sciglio: 5/10

De Sciglio was called in to cope with Rafa Silva’s twinkling toes, and did okay, but his switch across to the opposite flank backfired as he struggled to deal with Joao Mario.

Angel Di Maria: 6/10

In the last ten minutes, Juventus pushed forward, with Angel Di Maria leading the charge after returning from a muscle injury. The Argentine squandered a golden opportunity to level things up and was a bit rusty, but still showed flashes of his talent.

Moise Kean: 6/10

It was not a bad performance from Kean, who almost equalised when his shot deflected off Silva’s leg and hit the woodwork.

Nicolò Fagioli: 5/10

The midfielder had no influence on the game and was scarcely seen throughout his short cameo.

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