Juventus arrived in Istanbul at a crossroads. Fate wanted that the final and decisive matchday of the 2013-14 Champions League pitted the bianconeri against Galatasaray, in the city that itself represents a crossroads, where Europe meets Asia.
Juventus, strong of some great domestic form as of late, rested five starters on Friday’s win in Bologna to ensure physical freshness for this key match, from which they could count on 2 of 3 results (a draw or a win) in order to secure passage into the Round of 16. Galatasaray, instead had alternating results in the Super Lig under Mancini, and tonight was in dire need of a win to pass.
Fate, perhaps played a joke on all.
The game begins in the heated atmosphere of the Turk Telekom Arena, and the home side flies on the wings of their fans’ excitement dominating possession and applying pressure whenever Juventus get the ball.
However it’s Juventus that gets the first chance, with Llorente missing the goal by a meter courtesy of a cross by Vidal on sixteen minutes. A few minutes later, Galatasaray responds with a free kick from 25 meters by Inan, well wide past a secure Buffon.
The atmosphere at the Turk Telekom is inclement to Juventus, and so is the weather: in fact, at the 25th minute, precipitation intensifies, sleet falls, and referee Pedro Proença requests a red ball.
The Portuguese referee lasts only another six minutes and suspends the match to allow the groundskeeping crew to shovel the field boundaries, which were blurred by the fallen snow, and draw them red.
This was the final act, as the two sides and refereeing crew decided to postpone the match despite the good work of the groundskeeping team in clearing the snow off of the field lines.
The game will be resumed at the 31st minute tomorrow at 14:00 CET / 8:00 EST.